Andrew Burke

(1944 - / Melbourne / Australia)

Sharp-Smelling Mist - Poem by Andrew Burke

I see us now on the cliffs
of the Swan River by
the slumbering suburb
where my brother and I fought,
running up slants of
sunlight, gripping rocks
and holding roots, then
sliding back twenty feet
on hands and knees
salted with rocksand,
blood running like
a river like memory.
I hear rock crabs
in jars under beds,
scuttling like pirates
on coral islands, caught
by boys who hired rowboats
with girls in springtime
from Smith's boatshed,
now Mead's Fish Gallery.
Today, fish swim
across screens like
jeering children behind
glass, and scuttling
is backflow from
earbuds on Walkmans ...
Then floats to now
in sharp-smelling mist,
blowfish rotting on jetties,
rowboats driftwood to shore,
cars wrapped around trees,
friends torn like ragdolls,
then to now like a timetable
used to wrap gutted fish,
blood seeping through
onto salted hands.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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