For Alexander, turning 13

(Numbers xiii-xv)

Your grandfather steps lightly over the cold kitchen floor,
almost jauntily.  Don’t be fooled: he’s feeling his way with his feet,
the world’s planes uncreasing their bleached parchment
its hues shoaling in the lavish glare.  Secreted
to practise your reading (dutiful, impervious, bored)
may something gradually remain from its orthographic intent –

-      a peripheral vision by which to espy the world’s brazen contours
unfolds with an ascent, a directive to climb
into the hill country of the heart, from whence
the vast concatenation of causes and symptoms unwinds.

A cantillation of distant beacons and fire towers,
the future’s Canaan, its unsuspecting pastures and fences
spreads before you.  Now you must report back, your notes
to yourself a calm record of what you have seen.  Or not.

—Isi Unikowsky, Canberra AUSTRALIA