Up North

night is a nuisance
when you’re sleeping
on the floor

thirteen hours
in the same shoes
and hours yet to come

I pack Xing,
a slim volume,
for the plane trip to the tropics

*
spotty faded photos
of personalities at tea
framed on the cafe wall

trendy bakeries called
“Bread Story”
behind me, at last

paw paw, avocado, lychee,
banana, bread board and sockettes
on the window sill in the sun

*
this morning, hazy mauve pink
washes the wooded ravines
of the indigo range

noisy birds, ibis and egret,
shit white splotches
onto the utes below

two men in singlets
removing green coconuts
wave from the top of the tree

*
kestrels prey
on toads and rats
on furrowed cane fields

Welcome to Mareeba
Gateway to Cape York,
cloud blankets the tableland

rodeo clobber,
de rigueur
on Main Street

*
returning through rainforest,
the Kuranda boys
do the cassowary dance

“zamier nuts”
that's what they’re called
round and brown on the musty ground

last sunset in Cairns
across the port a ridiculous rainbow
rising from the foot of the range

by Pam Brown

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