Young Animism

1 May 2017

A white-blonde boy
stands toe-to-wave on a surf beach
in Queensland, midwinter. He
has just dug from the shallows
a small, ruddy shell. Some kind of ark, perhaps

although the plump red-lipped
mouth—that cups his right ear, nibbles it, hisses into it
—and fetid stench almost class
the prize animal—crablike.

With his right pointer, he dings the dull
bell. Silted with sand, warm seawater swells his cheeks
to bulging, because he is a puffer fish.

And throughout the dinging the boy listens to the rollers
quaking through the stinger nets
as if the stinger nets are seagrasses, and the rollers
seeking out the grasses so as
to tell him secrets in hiding.

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