We found it. The house, down a jagged unpaved road
the owner recently widowed coughed her warning:
The peacock comes with the house
lit the freshburn her next cigarette—floral
nighty open to a tongue of breeze.
We took it. [The house, because we were told such things could
be bought & sold. But we were untested / untried—thermite.]
Then, a frenzy of activity. Grass turned
elementAl the small electric mower, pulled through its last gasp—
a haze of rotary splutter.
There were snake eggs: a Medusa’s nest waiting for heat to burst them.
Evenings fell a swoop. Breeze waved
smoke wood tang, fire and coal. We ate from the pan,
your exclamation: This is stars’ end.
First light, the sky broke—a candy-cane swirl.
Magpies and currawongs picked over remains—
solidified pan juice, discarded rinds, pieces of gristle.
Before morning tea, the path baked
through. I lay
down, let small
I found you blowing flies from wet cracks—
the corners of your mouth.
We watched strawberry plants plat across wormed earth,
woke to fat caterpillars feasting on budded leaves.
Tossed song lines across the court of afternoons.
The fire ripped through late—no
warning. The radio’s almost packed it in, its static lost to the
howling / the furnace sky bellowed
we watched seething
flames tongues wild agape.
The flames licked and hissed and climbed—the two headed
and the animals, panting. Everything everywhere burning.
When we returned (the trees were black-end-ash) the peacock
after wrangling—all that was left was an x-ray the mackerel sky
churned to dust.
Even light had melted. Broken
its back against the flame.
An Etch A Sketch contains aluminum powder. The surface
behind the screen becomes coated when you shake it. In
the TV series Breaking Bad, Walter White uses an Etch
A Sketch to make thermite in order to blow a lock.
The symbol Al for aluminum comes from ‘alum’ which is
potassium aluminum sulfate. The name derived from the
Latin alumen, bitter salt.
A fire is made up of three principal elements: ‘fuel that burns,
oxygen that allows the combustion to occur, and heat.’ Fire
intensity is represented by units watts per metre; tens of
thousands of kilowatts of energy can be released in a bushfire.
NSW bushfires Q & A: How firefighters contain a massive
- 109: NO THEME 12with C Maling & N Rhook 108: DEDICATIONwith L Patterson & L Garcia-Dolnik 107: LIMINALwith B Li 106: OPENwith C Lowe & J Langdon 105: NO THEME 11with E Grills & E Stewart 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLEwith E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones