Valerie Volk

Friendly Street Poets

South Australia



Now only five, they stand
half-turned to sea,
their rods poised ready
rearing high against that empty sky
that stretches like a canopy of grey
drawn taut at the horizon.
Five men, all conscious of the gap
where once the sixth should be.
All thinking, or deliberately
preferring not to recollect
that moment earlier in the day
when they have similarly stood,
around the waiting grave.

Their shadows shimmer, shiver
at this water’s edge, grey like the sky,
grey like this day that severs
past and present.
He was the first to go.
The thought hangs in the threatening air
above them. So they may look,
but will not dare to speculate,
from one poised figure to the next.
A covert question on each face.
Who will be next to go?
For, stretching out beyond, they know
this blank infinity, so limitless,
has somewhere for them all,
no matter how obscured by mist and distance,
a horizon line.