Black Saturday

Sam Morley

1. During

when we arrived the north wind
flung gravel through trees
grass seethed at a blood clot sun

smoke stole back clouds
burnished everything in rage
a nightmare halo

we had come for the waterhole
to slip through that green sleeve
but fire howled in its rose cathedral

an asphyxiated dome groped for air
ash went after songless birds
and we gulped in the petrifying world

2. After

through a groove in the grass
flattened by rain

there is just enough of an opening
to see the scalp of the land

is still flaking
the grass bends

beneath the weight of water
a hoop genuflection

a soaked weave
impossible to pass

after the storm
when insects lace

fluted columns
and bars of sunshine

the mynas return, urchins
that never stand on ceremony

Sam Morley is a poet whose work has been published by a number of journals including Cordite Poetry Review, Red Room Poetry, Hunter Writers Centre, Canberra Times, Bluebottle Journal, Overland, Rochford Street Review and Antipodes, and has appeared on noted shortlists including the ACU Poetry Prize. He lives in Melbourne.   

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