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SEVENTY YEARS
    Someone determined the highway should
lie as it does, allowing you pull
over
    beside a gas station and an antique
shop with prices hiked altogether
too high.
    They between them confect a placebo,
to topical provincial unrest
which is of spirit,
    of those who misplaced cannot think
big enough. They make a placename only
warranted
    by roadmaps, comfortless comfort stop.
Cloud, rain, more cloud – over your shoulder’s
inevitably
    the Mountain, seen or unseen, resolute,
focal. Weathers like roads depend, testify to.
Across
    paddocks beyond the rail line is where
the old road went like a habit, outgrown.
It’s there
    as much as was used to hang out most
mornings, bringing the cream to offload, pick
up yesterday’s
    papers and local gossip, a dead dairy
factory. Its façade has twin mimic peaks,
one face
    weather-worn illegible, but the other
puzzlingly (in low relief) declares for
    1914
TRIUMPH
    which should be recorded before silenced
like the distant headstrong guns of August.
I fetch the camera,
    get into shelter, plan the shot. The cocking
lever won’t cock, film won’t reel. The shutter’s
jammed.
                                                                                      27. 8. 83
Editor's note
Seventy Years: first published in Stories About Wooden Keyboards; the Mountain: Mount Taranaki; guns of August: refers to World War I which began in August 1914
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