An Unstoppable Force Meets an Immovable Object
At the roof of the Rockies is the watershed
of America, the great divide,
where you can stand astride
the continental split, can gob your spit
(each gene-coded cell of it) one hawk to east
then west – then watch as each
begins its slow
globular journey towards opposing waters:
Pacific – deep, entrenched
and quarrelling fire; Atlantic –
dogged wrecker of ships, beating grey
determination on its coasts.
This is how a body can be pulled
in two directions:
my mother, newborn and uprooted
to a hospital crib,
her parents’ marriage
gone to tectonic drift
and both her grandmothers warm
colliding fronts from either side.
They say this mountain was a man
once, who wished to go on forever
and was granted. A strong
desire phrased badly –
though I too have wished
to be landscape in a foreign age,
to be cribbed in whole forests of life,
to be more than enough,
the conflicting tug
of oceans, take heart
from their fierce competitive love.
‘An Unstoppable Force Meets an Immovable Object’ was longlisted for the 2019 University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s Poetry Competition, and was first published in the competition anthology, Silence.