Troubled in the Roaring Forties

Rain on a caravan roof in the Furneaux Group.

Awake late, his mind roils like the encircling sea

these dwindling fugitive nights, roils in chaos

he knows no escape from, but wants to,

toil over, children adults, problems reflecting

their parents’, grandparents’, as it is in fiction,

usual flaws, deceit, greed, a touch of the crazies.


He hears no vehicles at this witching time.

The rain’s runoff affects these lonely rutted roads.

When he came down the dark mountain earlier

he bounced and jerked like an accident test dummy.

Here in the winter dark he feels rising dread,

reads, slowing, a novelist’s memoir of his parents,

an inventory of muted regret steered toward death.


Earlier still, cloud mantling jagged mountaintops,

he waded in brine until staggering out bone-cold,

unnoticed, skin, sun spots multiplying, mottled.

He has medicine, mourns people he once cared for,

mourns Donald Trump’s effect on the not guilty,

seeks solace in his football team’s fraught season,

down but fighting, a trace of the past’s conjured magic.   


© Ian C. Smith