Back then, roadtrips and hiking trails
all led to sacred rock: Cathedrals sandstone,
Blueies granite, Moonarie quartzite,
a dolerite middle finger smashed
by the wind and waves in Fortescue Bay,
my hands freezing to the rope,
as I watched your headlamp crawling
like an uncertain firefly
eighty metres up the Tiger Wall.
But when I heard you’d married
it was silt not rock I thought of,
silt in a sunlit river,
that shallow, shaded river
we might have descended together,
might have followed all the way,
but that we kayaked there that day
with the man whose wife you are.
I lost my glasses when I rolled.
The two of you were gone
around the bend and did not see.
I waded my kayak ashore through reeds
under the shade of peppercorn trees.
The mud clutched as I waded
back and forth across that river,
peering like a prospector
for metal’s gleam through clouds
of silt my wading stirred.
I cursed myself and the pair of you,
as shade eclipsed the amber stream.
And because I was frustrated
I kept thinking of how I’d waded
last night in the clutching silt of you.
Gave it up as daylight tired.
Hauled the kayak from the reeds,
paddled in a crimson blur
that swirled towards the edge of day,
and miles to fall yet with that river
whose name is clouded now.
The Ovens? Or the Goulburn,
or the Acheron.
- 99: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 98: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97: PROPAGANDACOMING SOON with 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