27 Aug 2014

Instructions for Survival – Heather Cam

[1955–current, born Canada, migrated to Australia in 1977]

A week after the break-up note:

The pools are dry again,
their salt crusted rims 
smell faintly of tears;
the sponges, once so responsive,
are high and dry,
stiff and stinking on the beach;
the sky is washed out, reeling;
the sea birds register nothing
behind unblinking pebble eyes,
but scream as they plunge,
chiselled and deadly,
to splinter the sea;
the surf pounds and points,
impersonal, enduring.

And realise
there’s nothing here for you;
and the wind’s assault – 
rippling the sands, erasing your footprints –
induces amnesia
amidst the flotsam and jetsam.

Source: Cam, H 1990, ‘The Moon’s Hook’, Poetry Australia 125, South Head Press, Sydney.

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