Sweedman’s Sprawling Mallee
By Nandi Chinna
In every moment of human time
our skins open, porous to influence
flakes of ourselves shed, fall away
settle into the earth at the base
of trees, or drift into waterways
where genetic codes mingle.
Here one leaf clings to its branch
through Birak, Bunuru, Djeran,
Makuru, Djiba and Kambarang,
on the edge of sea slope battered
by salt laden south westerlies;
closes its facets,
from tender meristem
to stiff green leather,
against the coast’s tough lessons
inscribed in salt veined script.
The earth needs a cloak
even in its hardest hours.
Sweedman’s Mallee sprawls low,
shimmying under ocean squalls,
and gale force blows,
the suns insistent torching;
holds down the mountain
with its chamber of roots.
A flock of welcome swallows
paint leaf shaped shadows across the beach
where hooded plovers ruffle
in their precarious sand nests.
In human time we will have shed
whole versions of ourselves
before one leaf dislodges from its stem,
clatters through a calloused canopy
to rest lightly upon Mount Arid.