Ghosts

Kate Middleton

 

like a ghost or a short, quick river

Martin Harrison

 

 

Replace one water with another:

 

the spectre of drought in Vegas:

imagine dry showers, being sanded of dirt, like

in the dystopian movies we’ve seen:

filth an extra skin to be

abraded, the porcelain of beauty mags

now only available to those

hermetically sealed in, away

from any megapolis:

 

the stop-start of the border river—that once

swept illegals away with its force, now

dammed into walllessness

—a stand-in for the future of water

restrictions “back home”: the dry creek bed

of childhood the longest

deprivation:

 

on talkback, news of a town committed

to underbid the restrictions enough

to donate the excess to their botanical gardens—

at last a true collaboration: the future

of beauty:

 

flow evaporates to standing water: to

ruffles the surface’s satin sheen,

reconjures the old crinkled shot silk of it: abundance

of light, still unfurled across its surface:

the surface, memory, shrinks

 

 

Kate Middleton is an Australian writer. She is the author of the poetry collections Fire Season (Giramondo, 2009), awarded the Western Australian Premier’s Award for Poetry in 2009, Ephemeral Waters (Giramondo, 2013), shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s award in 2014, and Passage (Giramondo, 2017). From September 2011–September 2012 she was the inaugural Sydney City Poet.

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