TARINI As the Intercity takes a bend a six-year-old runs to a carriage's end. Sixty-five years have left me here. "Where are you going?" she asks. "Oldcastle," I say. "On this Newcastle train?" She laughs her way back to the front. Ballerina of a swaying stage, two minutes later she's fetched a colouring book with parrots and trees waiting to be painted in all the hues known to light or shade before this evening is finally dead. "How old are you?" she demands. "Guess." "Eleven." "Yes." Infant balladeer of my laughing age, let's get serious. Your name carries mortals across the rivers of life and rage. Here and now Sing, sing and sing of the seasons winging their way back in to me on a long Australian evening that abhors any thought of summer dying. A station approaches. "Sweetie, come," her mother calls. Oh no Tarini. Don't go away. Can't you stay to send me on my way? I wish you'd see, the traveller receding in me. When this train comes to rest won't your eyes lift my feet from platform to concourse and then to the street overhead? Won't you see my breath never break its promise to my knees to rise in respect to the nearness of the new? Won't you see an old man bowing to the storm in you? Tarini stay or return. Tarini shape my passing into form.
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