The cold wind cuts like a scythe
through the folds.
Alone at the tram stop I brace,
my coat pulled tight around my chest.
I turn my head to the side
as though its blade will slice just one way.
My ribs are cold,
my feet are cold.
My nose is wet and my ears numb.
It’s not the cold of ice and snow.
It’s that damp Melbourne cold,
the cold without reward:
no white Christmas,
no toboggans and twinkly lights.
It’s the cold of a southern July.
June was long and
August snickers around the corner.
Damn, it’s cold.
But it’s warm too —
a warm that only winter tells.
It’s the warm of home once I arrive;
discarded coat and scarf and shoes.
It’s the enveloping warm as the door shuts behind.
Home is embraces, throws and quilts.
It’s fires burning and pots of soup that simmer.
It’s stews that stew with the saucepan lid ajar.
It’s red bean chilis with cornbread,
and warm winter puddings
with custard and cream.
And earthy red wines.
The cold is still there,
just beyond the doorframe.
It laps at the porch steps
but now I eye its menace
through the window and smile.
I am reassured.
I have no cause to venture out again.
Not tonight, because it’s cold.
[image from Melbourne Street Photography]