In the key of C

Shortlisted for the 2012 Cricket Poetry Award. I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder.

Played on AM airwaves
opened with the crackle of a dial, fielded
by news broadcasts on the hour

a melody in baritone within
a symphony, starring
songs my mother sang while dusting
the pop of corrugated iron under sun
the creak of French doors opened onto
verandahs where swallows dropped afterlives
of insects caught whirring
in fields of golden grass, or leaping
to avoid a passing hoof.

Later, cricket took shape beneath my fingers
like Braille
the decaying rubber handle of
a hand-me-down bat
the balding skin of tennis balls that bounced
too high off leaf-littered concrete

and later still, droplets that condensed
on cups of beer
the stiff warmth of cotton shirts on men
who sat beside me at the Gabba, when cricket
became something I could see

but even then the symphony played on;
the ABC in my ear,
the hum of summer holidays
in my heart.

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