“Father-killer and father-supplanter. Go in, and think on this.”
A man, a father taken today by shark
white pointer, a thrash of white water
whilst snorkelling with his son. A struggle
then blood – in the eyes of one onlooker.
I’m not one for the sea the underneath –
the three feet it can take! Circumspect
as the line gathering on shore, I collect
myself for the cameras as helicopters spy
above, there below a shadow the size
of a small boat. Should it be killed?
the reporter asks. Everyone else asks
after the boy. Should it be killed?
he repeats. I utter something about loss
my own father – they say the camera adds
weight, I think I even use the word love –
the sea is in my ear now. But it’s the shark
I’m after, for, about. I almost say thankyou
as the camera pans out across the bay
as the boy appears in the furrows, white
as a sheet, intact, a fleet of craft behind
him, a fleet of craft before him: dorsal fin
at the epicentre. The crowd agape, shoal
that they are, on land. Floundering, a woman
wraps him in a towel, pulls the snorkel
from his lip. Assumes in her absence
the role of mother. The Emergency
cannot get near him, he recalls nothing.
The reporter dives again, his father
in his mouth, Should it be killed?
the boy’s eyes roll back, his jaw widens
several teeth are missing – the crowd
rears – though this is hardly unexpected
given his age. I swear I can see right
into his gut as the reporter rephrases
the question. There is nothing of his
father in him, no stock footage. There
are no easy answers, no grab, bite
gear, goggles, no fragment of wetsuit
to cling to. Just expedition – the roar of
the sea, the tumult encased in shell.
- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHCOMING SOON with M Takolaner 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith 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