Look outside cautiously, knowing the sap
and blood will be thinner, less than before.
Magpies fight fifty metres above the rainwater
tank, falling then recalibrating aviatronics
as the news drifts in like fallout — death
to meet death in Syria, an emphasis of advertising,
people dead however configured, moral outrage
as selective as images we store in our heads.
Lugging containers of water across the block,
swing ankle passive dynamic, and you have
a swollen instep, so the body makes records
as tissue damage, swelling inside the shoe,
those ‘moment-angle loops’ constituting
labour, effort, hope, guilt, disturbance.
What can we revivify in this year of rabbits
unable to break through to the second layer,
stuck on the surface and vulnerable? An emerald
beetle on a dying root exposed to smoky air —
and farmers saying, We’d know how the year
pans out, and time to prepare for cropping
is time to prepare for cropping, believe in the echoes
of fire in stubble and then rain-gauges will gurgle,
and we’ll burn-off as our fathers and grandfathers
burned (it’s not necessary, not necessary! honestly!
you tell them), smoke sharp in the burn-only-
with-a-permit period, carbon forms suspended
and looking like something you’d conjure
outside pareidolia — roundish and inviting,
almost cuddly and true, like a spokesperson you
you might trust, but then you’re in the smoke
and choking and it’s all hooks and your skin feels
like it is covered in papercuts, your eyes nose throat
pixelate into the dream of firepower and resolution.
The magpies are carolling now, having broken off.
Dirty flames precise as windrows, while rain is no longer
in the provenance of meteorologists or farmers.
Lugging water gives you headspins. And so the pathology of control,
where fire in such dryness is a repetition you can’t put aside
as fashionable, because it becomes tiresome to hear the same
old things. Gerygones and thornbills have teamed up,
and hunt insects in the eviscerated greenery.
And you water with what is left to dispense,
make medicine of sustenance, out of what
would normally be used to wash away the sins.