S.E. Street’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have been published in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. She is the recipient of the Dymocks Short Story Prize for fiction, the Hunter Writers Award and is the SCWC HARP winner for poetry.
As I drove down the valley,
my father was silent beside me.
His head moved deliberately.
I knew what he was doing.
His photographer’s eye was framing
the distant mountains,
paled overnight by early snow.
The medley of the autumn trees:
conifers, alders, sycamores.
The stands of silver birch
against a peacock sky.
He lingered on the width of the glacier-fed river:
the milky turquoise channel of swollen current,
the pebbled shoals so clear and clean,
drinkable, in the morning sunlight.
The valley’s triumphant showiness seemed almost cruel.
This is not the last time you will see this,
I almost said, as he gathered the images
like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter.
We will be back. Next year.
With his thumb, he pointed over his shoulder
to a clearing, carved like the seat of a chair
in the side of a peak, reminding me
of where to watch the sunsets.
I opened my window a fraction
to let my melancholy escape,
cold air blasted my ear.
We bemoaned the long stops
on our childhood car trips
while our father painstakingly
composed a photograph.
Wordlessly, he led us to perceive
the significance of the world
outside the grandeur of ourselves.
Standing in the clearing,
I am dwarfed by the encircling mountains.
The sun trails a farewell hand above a ridge,
a gold fingered salute to the day.
The valley’s shadows smudge into darkness
and the stars, undiminished by city lights,
spawn luxuriantly beyond the rim of the horizon.
© 2018 S.E. Street