for Sarah


You forget about it, sometimes.

The open-cut of this place, how each day

            feels as sticky and measured as cough syrup.

A curly child dips from her mother's black sleeve

like a teabag.

You forget the metallic tang

of vanilla deodorant and chalk dust, the open cut

            of adolescence.

            Outside the Sports Club

blue backpacks bob and murmur

and station wagons herringbone the one-way streets.

            You forget, sometimes,

writing hours of lamplit letters,

as if you could pin yourself against them.

The classroom doors swollen under the humidity of hormones.

Chewing  brittle fingernails,

            skipped lunches.

The buses grunt towards a funeral parlour

             that offers NRL-themed coffins,

biodegradable and carbon-neutral.

You learn to forget the things

that jostle and bruise inside blue backpacks

            and are never unbattered again.