This Other Life
 
 
The what if alternative to chronic gothic memories
whistling around my mind so late now,
a life in which my parents value art’s integrity,
understand love’s kindnesses, children’s fragility,
where education is sanctified in lieu of lucre,
that is the current fantasy owning my insomnia.
 
Mapped undergraduate days begin in my teens
reading poetry, crashing in and out of love,
studying dreamily on campus, eschewing student jobs.
Qualified, I start real work in my mid-twenties,
enjoy lunch I can afford at a redolent hip deli,
leave my desk at day’s end, hands clean, satisfied.
 
Marriage to a woman who treasures books delights
despite autumnal affairs, because we take time
to touch each other, ‘sorry’s power stitched to last,
witnessed lessons of quality sustaining long-term.
Her people friends whose approval I value,
love our crumbling inner-city street, its old elms.
 
Wounded but little, at least until older,
I do not convey hurt, either to body or soul.
Suffering wrongs never eclipses me in moments alone,
betrayal’s burns resulting from minor exchanges only.
Friendship vanquishes seclusion, beauty is all.
Wrong moves?  Few and trivial in this wishful life.    

Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Antipodes, Australian Book Review, Australian Poetry Journal,  Critical Survey,  Prole,  The Stony Thursday Book, & Two-Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.