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Aftermath


ISSUE:  Summer 2011

In back wards, sea spray thinning ash as the city
turned from itself, the ocean which brought it, faces off
against a dying Westerly, the bushfire winds, clipping
sprawling edges of the suburbia where Alibi Wednesday
lets slip her need for illumination of one kind or another.
Jumbo was miles away, caring for their father, his monologues
swank engines for survival that only made sense in an aftermath.
Alibi had been hoarding it for years, out here her gathering
hunger, half-hearted and aching, heady with glue-sniffing
and the primitive clutching of school boys about her skirts,
gathering up accounts, instants of ingratitude, the overall lack
of graciousness, the salt-laced crest and crumble of bodies
mimicking waves, the freakish winds and seasonal changes
determining which way illumination shed. Fifteen years
is a lifetime. You could suffocate, taking it all in too deeply
so you bark and hawk on it. She feels like the city, backed up
against the sea, dusk cornered and for once turning back,
capering on the headlands, licking at the edges of names
she cannot pronounce, twisting newspaper into curlicues
of flame, she touches against the stripped skin of eucalypts,
scraggled ends of underbrush and banksia dry and tindered,
translating it all back into daylight, rough and immediate.

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