At Sea

Anne Casey


Brine rises, whetted as memories in my sandbagged lungs—

plastic-scrap semi-sunk in a spring tide, ragged and limp, as hard to inflate


I came from the sea, a distant shore pummelled even then—

beaches these days reshaped by each season, squalls outside living recollection


Seawater pillowed my children before they were born—

blood-warm as the currents swarming to nurture the Crown of Thorns, they thrived into life


Wave-surges swell on the storm-ravaged islands of my consciousness—

Welling like water-winged infants, as vulnerable to submersion; I still worry they’ll drown


My body grows nodules virulent as invaders engulfing virile organs—

once plump and vigorous as coral polyps, my cells too, pulse with petrochemicals


My temperature rises with each falling number—

Two thousand species, two thousand metres deep, two thousand kilometres wide


My heart sinks—

Faster than the five hundred billion plastic bags we use each year


My vision clouds—

Murky as forty per cent of the world’s ocean surface obscured in manmade debris


But, small and bright as spawn-clouds blooming—

White, gold, coral, the young surfacing, shine through seeking truth


Our budding hope



Originally from Ireland, Anne Casey is an award-winning Sydney-based poet/writer, and author of two collections published by Salmon Poetry. Her work is widely published internationally and ranks in The Irish Times ‘Most-Read’. A former environment journalist, she is Senior Poetry Editor of Other Terrain and Backstory journals (Swinburne University, Melbourne).

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