Going Under – Jaime Shields

Smoke nails us to the ground keeps us low
and our washing wet
From down here the gaol lights are in the top right hand corner of every picture
the southerly doesn’t care
We all gurgle that Kariong would burn once
and for all and leave the rest of us alone
We don’t feel that way about Pretty Beach
it’s not a three legged dog
Fifteen minutes in any
direction is too far. We fashion an island
from peninsula and mountain. no one thinks to go north
We sink under smoke like
Atlantis. It never complained
planned retirement
time to write to the government
and save the foreshore from developers
Smoke chokes school children in wide-brimmed hats
and taunts the elderly who
imagine their roofs one day
as terracotta and tin islands
and no jacarandas to sew grey roads to grey skies