My eyes opened to the Northern Lights and midnight sun
But then I blinked, and they were gone.
And in their place, dusty eucalypt, argent sky
Bluer than a Scandinavian eye.
My father chased work, we followed along.
Found language the tyrant, not distance or custom.
A rusty old Holden let us travel, barring failure,
And so did we settle in south-east South Australia.
My parents, if asked, I’m sure would attest,
While life wasn’t perfect, they gave it their best;
But I would reply, though it summoned tears,
Why didn’t you call me for so many years?
My brother was charged with the death of a woman,
And I took the stand for the Crown prosecution.
Subpoenaed to explicate his life of infamy,
In doing so, severed the last strand of family.
Not once did I think it would ever be me,
That committed the act that I’d need to be free.
Of their burdening guilt and sullen-eyed rage,
At the son who slipped quietly out of their cage.
They say that a wise man learns from mistakes,
Yet even a fool can see what it takes.
To make something from what there’s left of your life;
Three children, two cats and my lovely wife,
Time I stopped looking back over my shoulder.
Memories of where I began just grow older.
After thirty-odd years, bitterness gone;
I’m no longer anyone’s blue-eyed son.
Erik Kaisson, 2017