ghost of the river redgum

river redgum.


i drowned. the river found me rolling in her roil.

her steel-grey fingers plucked my angel brain.

my silver thoughts she shredded. plucked for fish,

they swam like semen. she felt them through her muscle

purposeful like metal, cold as shine, like nerves.


she gave my fear to yabbies: snappy things,

hard-armoured, snapping backwards into cracks

along her meaty banks, jutting futile eyes,

their crazed antennae lashing and flashing

in the heavy pull of all that water.


(crunchy her claws are,

full of fragrant flesh – they’re sculptors’ claws,



and she flung my rage wrangling

and shattering like chatter over her shoulder. with

the wind it flew shivering into the reeds,

and i when i sank, i was


cradled in the red gum’s cavern by

her feeding fingers, held fast in her mud,

which swelled like flesh and sucked up to my bones

to be new flesh for me, while it sucked away the old,

the mud of the mother the lips of the river gum tree.


then i slowly ascended in the sap of my

new mother’s limbs. green was my streaming hair.


i gaze across my green, kangaroo-lekked

and wombat-warrened lap,

my skull is humble in my wooden hand.

the acres flow like breathing from my sides

they stretch out long and warm like eagle wings

to distant ridges fringed with ravens’ cries.

river redgum

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