There, but for the grace of a stranger

by James Walton

it is the thing about suffering
the excuses of a friend’s gobbling

cheeks full with unknown currency

over the ankles in sand
this slow drag to conscience

weathered, open to sky

every now and then
while dragging knees toward it

a glance of redeemed sunshine

clapping foreign discourse
where every shadow is anonymous

identical to the core

how our heart chambers push
this sticky throbbing mess

tangential of one another

our abandoned other selves
arm out, waiting for the baton


[James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, a cattle breeder, and mostly a public sector union official. He is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. He has been shortlisted for the ACU National Literature Prize, the MPU International Prize, and the James Tate Prize. His poetry collections include The Leviathan’s Apprentice, Walking Through Fences, and Unstill Mosaics (forthcoming). He is now old enough to be almost invisible. He lives in Australia.]