Observatory Hill, atop the crest
of Sydney Harbor – guarded
by phalanx of great-aged,
magnanimous fig trees – like a nest
for visionary eagles – keeps a lens
trained on stars down
under (twinkling diamond
octahedron, Southern Cross).
Yet here, in a nearby yard, one pine
soars higher than those figs,
flings moth-wide wings –
lime branches drooping like a pinecone
honeycomb – leans into evening
at acute angle (a golden
mean). Jack’s cheekbones
were so sharp – as that pining
Rail-splitter’s, in the cracked-plate
portrait – like the pyx
flung aloft by priest
or angler’s scale-scorèd blade –
the vertical taproot must plunge deep.
Against sandstorm &
flood, the blistering worm,
a maze of chains... rusted keep
of treason’s rigor mortis – fatal
spire of PX’ed Magdalen.
Where buffalo pern
to droughtland hollow (fetal, natal).
The "cracked-plate portrait", by Alexander Gardner