an unremarkable stream is made remarkable
by its vanished water.
wander your mind on a river, how it refracts
a skipping stone, disappears quicksilver
from your hand, envelops
your plummeting body.
waratah rivulet wrote water’s history in rapid
mirrored cloud-blow, kingfisher
impetus. it fed the woronora—damned
for the shire.
now the quick, gleaming bed
is fissured, cracked wide open. dry rust
and ochre. hard landing.
machines craze the subterranean certainties
longwalls 20 and 21 of peabody’s mine
chisel ancient strata with new calligraphies.
a shattering they’ll patch
uselessly with polyurethane.
in black flooding tunnels
mudeyes and caddisflies scratch the solid
meniscus, tap vainly
for light. men crack rocks for coal
and rivers shudder.
throw a stone into water, hear only
in sydney’s southern catchment lands
an unremarkable stream
is no longer a stream.
Previously published in A Guide To Sydney Rivers, (Meuse Press, 2015)