Northern Waters by John Holland

I knew a sea once
that curled blue and lazy against white shell shores. 

Dreamed beside it
of wooden boats and dark-skinned sailors. 

Those who braved the grey distance in search of pearl and beche der mere. 

Lazed beside it in mottled shade and
burrowed through the depths of sand
following Casuarina roots down to sweet water. 

Ate black-lipped oysters and mocked the sun. Watched the distance for monsoon mountains. 

Heard at night the call of the curlew and avoided the places where the kidney-fat men walked. 

Made sure their ashes were cool. 

In time the ocean dried from my mind. Receded drop by drop from my knowing 

until I had lost it. 

Now it is just ghost water and forgotten ways.

From Under the Dog Star by John Holland, available on Amazon. Used with permission by the author.

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