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Welcoming Party

By Sean West 


You watch them wade
out over sandbanks between
low tide and high. Lucky
families flock like gulls
to a chip then evaporate
faster than fiddler crabs when
they see local kids smoking, stuck
in their mangrove purgatories
sunburnt on piles of dead
leaves. Crude fairy rings jagged
by sea glass and ciggies refract
at golden hour. Could you taste
their effigies on your tongue?
They burnt a name or distress
signal dead in the centre
of the beach playground
It was hers
Their mum hung herself
from that gum tree
you picnicked beneath
Did you notice her footprints
hover before the tide erased
them? Did you snuff one
out for her on your way
back to the car?

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