An Easterly scribbles havoc
flagfall wind-script
in semaphore sedges

winter and dawn
swamp’s fringe

beach spinifex,  halophytic
grasses and marram
flex, unquietly.

The regolith is etched
with roo paths and clawprints

We focus our telescopes
and settle in
to contemplate shorebirds

among the living rocks –
Waaggyl Noorook, fossils
of rare,  endangered

communities lost
at ambiguity’s edge
on the cusp of living and dying.

Imagine, microbes exhaling
and ozone translating sky
blue, so long ago

and still breathing
water from out of sight
aquifers under the serpent eggs

old as the Holocene 


Later, we climb eroded ridges
counting how many remnant waders
line the sandbanks to sup on fading light. 

Leaning against an outcrop, I
write the litany of lost names –
Hooded plovers, black cockatoos

while behind me on talus slopes
a quarry wind incenses
their absence with lime-dust.

Air surrounds us
with suspended grit –
it is shape-shifting dunes

with a singing sound
that’s sorrowful as disappearing
lakes and rising salt.

Sweetwater is country’s eros.
Fecund in Peel’s supple body
Yalgorup’s lakes are love

inscribed on dry earth, time
uncovering the paths of her
desire, its slow slaking.

View this poem on The Disappearing »