David Malouf appears with no metaphors, no Luna Park of references, no subtle acknowledgements of a past. Italy could be just a word, July notional. Day is a clean sheet. My relationship, or your relationship, with David Malouf is a private matter. We play marbles under Queensland verandahs, the clink of glass. Down in the trenches with our sense of belongings, we’ve only our mates to thank: everything could be blown apart. Exile, it’s our choice. We sit by the Black Sea of our chequered existence, with a companion who’ll never fully comprehend how much we’ve changed. Nor we, them.