Jayne Fenton Keane >

Deckhand
This is a Story About Water Too

 

Deckhand


Today I bought a book

from a second hand store
illustrated with rough-hewn planks
of fathers.

(i) how to saw

take an amber filled gesture
notch a sealed thought with a blade

let the tiniest chink of doubt glisten
take it at an angle, blow out the dust

clamp around its edges with rings of affection
season it with desire, polish it dry

bite at it hard with steel and sweat
and feel the first delicious crack of joint.

(ii) spit and polish

Wire slips from an edge of dark continent
and I see one hundred million comrades
lick at their lips.

They bite their tongues off at the throat
as they buff and spit and polish your eyeballs

 

 

 

This is a Story About Water Too

All around the wind is covered in echoes.
Salt holds onto the ghosts of fish

in crystals growing like fish eye lenses.
There used to be water in this riverbed

now it is full of blood and the bones of missing links.
The bank is a fossil of lifeless

where the water is missing, where the water is lost.
The creek now only holds bridges with signs

marking where the creek used to be.
The stream got lost downstream

where the flow is missing, where the flow is lost.
An ear softens on the ground, into the mouths of aboriginal ancestors

telling stories about the great frog who swallowed the water.
In the deep recesses of bores a spirit bears witness to itself

takes the shape of extinction in skin made of crystals of salt.
There is salt on the moon tonight as a deep brown hand

digs into a riverbed to feel the dust change shape.
The ghosts of frogs croak in the lines of his hand

when he touches the ground.
When he touches the ground he can hear tractors

in the distance.
Rare tarantulas dig deeper into their burrows.