Monday, December 14, 2009


It is
6:30 in the evening here, an early summer day, and the heat is pulling out all the moisture we harbor within. I sit at the bus stop, we have no subways here, but trams and buses and trains that run on the surface with people waiting at gaited fences to continue crossing the street, like one sees often on the news back in America,the awful sight of a car crushed on the railroad tracks, the wooden railing not doing its job of holding back the drunken driver or the daring teenager racing against the metal monster. Tomorrow, we are told on all the news outlets, will be one of the danger days, in the low hundreds, and country towns all over Victoria and New South Wales are on the alert for bush fires. Those of us in the city will hunker down in our houses, flats, take refuge in the movies; here the heat is like nowhere else because Australia sits right under the void in the ozone layer, and your skin knows it. Last year, Daniel, Joel, Di, Cello and I spent the day behind shuttered windows, drinking smoothies and playing cards. Every once in a while we would step out onto the deck to test the severity of the day and quickly we withdrew, it was like walking into fire. While we hid, hundreds in country towns around Melbourne where dying, caught trying to save their homes, or in their cars or in the middle of a field. The last time we stepped out on the deck, we smelled the burning dust, the fire- strength carried on the winds. For a moment I thought of another time of destruction and mortality carried on the wind, that day in September when on my upper West Side window ledge, there was a chalky tragic dust. I live in a new geography, and I have come to know and share the fearful look upward at a pitiless sky, so blue you would think it is an ocean but in it lie all the deserts of the world.

1 comment:

Khulud Khamis said...

Hi Joan,
greetings from rainy Haifa.
i'm sitting in my living room, and in spite of the cold, i just opened the window just to be able to listen to the rain.
sending you hugs from all the feminists at Isha L'Isha