Fogg Dam

Jacqui Malins

Old people would tell me
this is a mere afterimage.
But the first good wet in years
and profligate tropical abundance
floods me.

The mud is rich and dark, water glass.
Under the sun, lotus lilies float
their burdens of petals and pollen.
Ibis and heron unfurl bright
across the shallows.

I turn to each splash, glimpse
flash of kingfisher with squirming sliver.
Flageolet whistle of kites descants above
sticky insect hum. A dragonfly thrums
the tip of every twig.

Great egret croaks a protest, wet feet
drag as it labours away from my
disturbance. Past freshwater mangroves
paperbarks shed skin and figs dangle
tangled rootlet tresses.

Bee-eaters snap at motes of light and motile
shadows are Shining Flycatchers’ obsidian glint.
I glance up to meet ringed eyes of a Boobook, resettling
its feathered self. A golden snake pours sunlit mercury
through burnished leaf litter.

In the monsoon forest’s soothing gloom,
vivid existence dazzles. Submerged in this urgent
here and now, without visible horizon
I can’t see what is ahead, what is coming.

Jacqui Malins is a performance poet and artist based in Canberra. She has featured at the Woodford and National Folk Festivals, and has published chapbook Cavorting with Time (Recent Work Press, 2018) and her first collection F-Words (Recent Work Press, 2021).

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