Genevieve Osborne / Poetry

BUNGA LAGOON

No wind when I push off in the canoe
the water easy against the hull
I paddle to the far side, past the flooded fence posts
and drift        watch through the reeds and grasses
as the black swans teach their young,
the white belly of the sea eagle
a warning        high in the woollybutts

then the nor’-easter strong and quick
and I try to paddle back        nosing out past the point
again and again blown back        useless in the two man canoe

you’re alone in the camp
your father gone to town

and then I see you        red cap just visible
taking strides as big as you can
through the long grass        not thinking of snakes
you’ve seen my distress and left the parachutes you’re making
for your soldiers
your small voice shouting now against
the wind
do you need some help?
and all the world and beyond travels
to me in that sound

I let the canoe blow back into the bank and you climb into the bow
hunch your light frame
into the effort of the paddle
leaning out into the wind        as it slaps around the point
determined to tip the balance.

©  Genevieve Osborne.

‘Bunga Lagoon’ first appeared in Meanjin, Vol.66.2, 2007.

©  Genevieve Osborne.

©  Genevieve Osborne.

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