Saturday 3 March 2018


When I spent two nights
on Grandad’s couch,
in Grandad’s village,
in Grandad’s language,

he and I were a drive from Warsaw
and at least
two lifetimes
from Australia.

He’d raised mum in that place.
The seas had been high
—crashing east from Germany
then swamping west from Russia—
but he and nan had raised four kids
in their dinghy made of grit
and magic.

Since then,
mum had flown to Australia and
made a mostly-functioning family.
Really, it’s been as if she’s
seized a tonne of pearl with pocket nets
dipped in on feel
and intuition.
Poland, meanwhile,
broke the shackles of Russia
to fall within the chains of freedom,
but by then Grandad was weary
of the old chorus of change.
He stroked his cat, had the odd visit,
pissed in the outhouse and fell in love
once more.
In the swelter of Aussie Xmases,
we’d sit around the polish food
and through landlines speak with him
and the myth he represented in my child’s heart.

here was I the adult on Grandad’s couch
in a village
that mightn’t recall that thirty years before
mum had felt the urge to set the wings
of her whim on a flight to

I tied my shoes
in likely the room
mum had learnt to tie her own.
I felt the thread of time
come flutter through my fingers
as I worked the laces.

Grandad rested on his seat.

Mum thinks he keeps his story to himself.
Or maybe we ourselves are Grandad’s story
—a story of a love he bore
that threads throughout our lives,
that’s thundered through Poland to Oz
and throughout his children’s children,
whilst he himself has hardly left his village home.

Grandad’s tale is of a love
that lives on
like the wind

and in that way

Grandad is immortal.

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