In the Mallee Garden, Kings Park
A global mix of accents and dialects
echo along the terraces,
rising and falling amongst the flowers.
Not being able to speak in tongues
I can’t decipher what the tourists say,
but their bodies vernaculars translate
as amazement, incredulity, laughter.
Operculum lids are edging open,
flowers squeezing out of their cups,
huge staring eyes furred with red lashes.
The visitors take out their cameras,
squint into screens, blinded by stamens’ garish light.
The lingua franca of flowers is many-stemmed,
multi-coloured, seasonal, sung by birds,
stimulated by rain, determined by soil;
named by Nyoongars:
mottlecah, jingymia, gungurru.
These voices resonate amongst curated plantings,
embedded signs translate into English
that which our dumb bodies seek;
forgiveness, otherness beyond ourselves.