'It's Apples.'

            the petrol hand says,

short shorts on the Monaro, in July

'The best thing about winter here,

            it's apples.'  


Yours is a crisp city. It curls its boulevardes

            and scatters roundabouts like concrete confetti.

You call its CBD Civic and even the cars

merge more politely,

as if they too appreciate a bureaucratic queue.

We see space enough on median strips

            for apartment blocks.  


The auburn poplars soon

will turn stiff and grey as toilet brushes.

We gather bouquets of dead leaves

            to take back home.

In a bar, the specials board proclaims:

If you steal my glassware

I will raise the price of beer 

            and offers a Kevin Rudd Special, for anyone

who's been beaten by a girl.

The punters play Dungeons and Dragons.  


In your crisp city, you buy a mug of mulled wine

            and a fresh-squeezed orange juice at ten on Sunday,

and a Shetland pony sits fat beneath gloved children.

The lake wears a border of cold cyclists,

and police in steel-blue overalls

            walk labradors sleek as fish

on neon leashes.

            The water seems riveted together,

and the grey buildings still remember

            the dioramas they were modeled on.  

In this staticky city, the air makes my skin

            feel like toast.

The road signs are blunt, and dented.

Please Don't Speed.

Drink. Drive. Die.

It's a long way yet to the Big Merino, you reassure us,

but they sell apples out of car boots

            beside the highway.