Invoking the muse, in the garden

From Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017

muse, sing with me under the papaya tree,
kneel with me in sawdust besides silver-beet
and rhubarb-leaf. hold me in your talons
above the hallowed lawn. greet me sweetly
with the hedge-loppers, sweetly with my organs
lain out under the clothesline. muse, eat
the cabbages from my camphor box,
pitch your tent on my patio, wash your hair in
my bathwater. go on. i have been standing
lonely in the garden all this time – lonely
with manure in my hair and soil in my gums,
holding the dregs of this poem like a toy.

muse, french-kiss me under the papaya tree.
it is a new year after all and i have waited
with woodmouse and witchweed
in the starless gully. i have paced circles
and circles around the garden hose,
bellowing your name. some evenings i hunker
with an oil lamp in the grasses. and i can see
your breath, now and then, rise out of the thickets.
but you are following the footfall of an other
and i am just shadow – a hopeless silhouette,
clutching at words as if they meant anything at all.