by Jessie Jackson
These heavy waves are
Frothy doonas wrapped around our limbs
they sap us of our energy
Conduct their own which ebbs
a life force
In and out of us
leaves us spent and empty
I know the start of JAWS too well
The shrieks of joy from children sound like
precursors to me
Those gulls out on the bay
Dip through the wind for fish
Bring bigger things in below
that are unseen and yet anciently known.
Push out into the swell, always pushing
And the rip can’t be blamed for pulling
The life guards have gone home
The flags are now echoes of
Melted ice blocks, Calippos.
You throw your head back
A baptism in salt water I can never reach
Too concerned with blood and
The sand between my teeth.
Silver fishes, small as 50 cent pieces
flip in the shallows
We shriek at their light touches.
How the poncho you give me afterwards
Feels like burgundy tentacles suctioning to my hips
Of course we now have to eat chips
To gain back our grounding
in this salted place
As if to consume what almost consumes us
To end this churning ritual of death and rebirth.
Jessie Jackson is a writer working on Yugara and Turrbal land. Poetry haunts her sweetly every day, and she writes to give it voice.