Stillness

Offerings remain

sprawled on the road,

white rice to appease

 

the gods, soiled black

with dirt and exhaust

fumes from rumbling

 

mopeds, cars, trucks,

shoe-prints indented

on white and grey

 

a remnant of ash

from an incense stick

placed by pious hands

 

a frangipani

 

small petals uncurled

its centre yellow

the residue of the sun.

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In the Tide

On the shore a stranded shell
unable to move its weight alone,
only by the force of waves
or a curious hand that reaches to it,
this barren and directionless thing.

Trapped in the tidal drag
the shell rolls slow,
scores small dents,
finite signs in the sand
till the sea, once more, lets go.

Trickling channels form
a shallow moat;
high on a mound,
a brief landscape,
the shell the castle.

Once it housed a mollusc,
shielded it from ship-wreck rocks,
now the shell lies untangled,
no longer stifled
by the sinews of family bonds.

The ocean throws down hard,
pushes blind to dry hot sand,
the shell cast from its crest,
strewn amid seaweed,
sponge and fractured swirls.

Left high, salt dries to rock,
the shell to brittle bone,
its flushed crown faded,
crumbled rim gone,
lodged in the shore.

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Eucalypt Forest

Logs rest on logs
splinters on earth
beside a bulldozer.

The highway passes
one lane each way
too slow for trees.

On paperbark crowns
red-tailed black cockatoos
signal imminent rain.

Roadwork will stop
as heavy machinery
bogs in wet earth.

Outside my window
wind carries leaves
slow like summer.

Birds come with chatter
of the eucalypt logs
that were once trees.

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