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To celebrate our 75th birthday, we’re presenting exceptional works from Meanjin’s past that have defined and challenged Australian literary culture.  >

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Poem of a New Driver

Belinda Rule

When I first get the car, I pull all the fabric / of the city towards me—new poetry by Belinda Rule

When I first get the car, I pull all the fabric
of the city towards me, race it through
like cloth beneath the presser foot.
Come here, Geelong! And it does:
a satin bolt of sky unrolls,
the road a seatbelt
speeding on its reel.

You see so much of the sky driving:
you’re an eel darting upwards
in a limpid bowl of glass,
trailing the road like a tail.
        So much of trees, too:
abstracted and distilled by speed
into essence. When you walk
there is only one tree,
and your beetling body
labouring below.
At speed you are
the master of all trees—
all of them arrayed as if curated
just for you.

And always you know you might die.
A second’s distraction and
you will swerve, careen, flip,
and in mid-air you will be
the master of something new,
a mote exploding from the sun,
the knower of what
          may only be known once,
                        and then only for a second;
at last,
          purely happy.

© Belinda Rule

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