Culture Hero

Chris Lynch

 

1

 

Begin with the quotidian selection

of a series of loosely connected objects

 

threaded by a man’s perambulation

along a beach in Redcliffe.

 

Late afternoon in June, deserted—

even the sea has retreated into itself.

 

2

 

One half of an empty bivalve still tufted

with byssus, the inner nacre fresh with loss.

 

This shell does not sound like the sea—

it is too small

or the man’s ear is too big.

 

He cuts a finger on its edge,

watches the felicitous blood bead.

 

3

 

Oompie bongs line the foreshore. The man imagines

Lt Miller stepping off the boat at Woody Point

 

admiring the lonely water taps, the lack of mosquitoes

& Aborigines, but most of all the solid jetty

 

where fishermen sit, collecting death

by the bucket.

 

4

 

On the menu: Greek words, mostly. The man selects

an enigmatic dish garnished with salt of the earth. For a moment

 

he is tempted to converse with the young mother with

bags under her eyes waiting among the terra cotta, but remembers

 

the audience. She takes the warm parcel of butcher’s paper

and string, twitches a nervous smile, and steps out into terra incognita.

 

She is the signifier of a certain weariness with life, of the babies

other people had, or didn’t have. The fish and chips are excellent.

 

5

 

From the wall the Minotaur surveys his candled domain.

Pensive, the man slays dessert with the smallest fork,

 

watches crumbs dash themselves in the cream

smeared across the cavernous plate.

 

The man settles his bill, then takes the rickety gate

into darkness without so much as looking for

a piece of string.

 

 

Chris Lynch is a white Papua New Guinean-Australian who lives in Melbourne on Wurundjeri country. His work has appeared in Cordite, Peril, Tincture, Verity La, PNG Poetry, and the Poetry & Place Anthology 2015, among others. He misses (sub)tropical storms.

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