Gently green (Dani Netherclift)

I tried
to get back to you,
tending your greenery
my mother complained

You water like a Pom, too stingy. 

when I was a child
fairy limbed
we planted watermelons
in mounds of dirt we never saw shoot

the yellowed paddocks
in dry relief 
warm winds

different seasons to weather
in the next town
we placed marigold
seedlings under protection

of nectarine canopy
one night I slept 
in that tree, blankets
nexus between

branch & child  
the silver princess
eucalypt took eight men
to heft from truck

over — those deep deep gutters
that we had sometimes swum
in flood / could there
have been such flows

in such a place? —

through the gate
and into the waiting 
hole, the spectacle
attracted children & dogs

when I was eleven    
you sold your butcher shop
and brought home
a travelling green dream

the bare truck &
sign painted on the side 
Perry’s Portable Plants 
though there was hardly

an interval graced
before it was bogged
down in
suburban inertia, so

another butcher shop
in a bigger town
at thirty-nine
you had a heart attack

at forty-four
your breath 
as though

in anticipation

the sloping hillside
of Christmas trees 
off the Hume marks 
the halfway-home point

in the close
interior of the ute  
I will you 
not to speak

you and I together    
in this space
are only travelling 
there is nothing

to atone with now
but words —  
trees gently

in reconjured spaces
shapes of green
that continue
to shoot

I type it, then —

‘my son’s face lights up 
as he sees you 
and runs into your arms’


Dani Netherclift lives in Wathaurong country (Geelong) with her husband and two children. She is currently working on an elegiac poetry manuscript about her father. She has had recent words in Otoliths, Mascara Literary Review & e/merge magazine via Emerging Writers Festival, as well as on a street in Adelaide via Raining Poetry in Adelaide, and has upcoming work in Swamp Journal and others. She has previously been published in Meanjin Quarterly and Cordite Poetry Review.