Not under Lake Eucumbene

1 February 2015

for Adrian, Bonny, Fiona and Lindsay


State-owned water floated,
a new sky.
Raised floor plans are bones of fish in mud.
Dead trees signpost hushed streets
lined with rushes.
Concrete steps lead up
to an absence of church.
Ochre struts from a ute chassis, rusted through,
flake off as slabs of poor shale
or ancient timber.
Fifty years of silt and wash on these spoils
brought them to a dusty sheen
under drought –
death’s own shining resuscitator.

And when Adaminaby
first rises, memory is a plot of panic.
When the old town and its foundations and cisterns,
chimneys and well-tops surface through air,
the breathy wind is across them,
it hisses
the topsoil skyward, coarse with rumour.
The sun
thrashes at a boat ramp that slopes to more ground,
with its cracked contracted wounds peeling scales.
Drowned trees are stuck waders.
There’s nothing here
that’s not residue. A boy, once lost in town,
now has a useless map in his grey head.

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