“It’s when you’re sure
you’re not important enough to give
pain, that you do it.” – Craig Powell

Filed away in the two-faced laneways
of my mind is a washed-out photograph
of a young girl posing atop a palomino.

Her horse’s snowy mane is as white-cold
as her countenance. She looks like me:
same crisp face, cutting eyes

and bare arms. Behind her, grey leaves
have fallen – not as lovely as Rilke’s –
to the clouded ground

and the jacaranda flowers are ashen.
Maybe now, years later, her fiery regard
for me has extinguished.

Her grip on the reins is unfailing
and her straight-backed posture
is as rigid as her rules: “Keep your nose clean.”

“Take your shoes off.” “Don’t marry that man.”
My mother’s voice fades
as her photo does.