Solomon Islands, Uepi
Adrift, pursuing phantoms of lost habitats
we pursue wilderness until it is no more.
I am eating the reef.
At first, it is sweet and expansive –
like meditation, or the rush of oxygen
after holding the breath.
Ocean so blue it is sky and sea at once –
cobalt blues gas the coppers
of midnight snapper,
following courses electric
of bluefin trevally and barracuda;
we submerge and are joyfully lost.
Powder fire of faecal matter
scatters down like talcum
as fish accelerate
and weave the ocean’s current
that silts glorious accretions
of sucker-mouthed worms and corals.
I hang trawler nets of grief and avarice
and fill them with fish.
Quartets of seniors float
in the channel’s shallows like plastic
bottles eddying the pier.
Masks full, they stand and crunch coral –
the newly buoyant flail.
Deeper out, I float
the surfaces of black tip reef sharks
and wish for blood,
or for the lips of giant clams
to swallow us whole.
Kristin Hannaford is a Queensland writer and poet who often writes about the natural world. She has had four collections of poetry published, the latest is Curio (Walleah Press 2014). Her poems and short fiction are published in a range of Australian and International literary journals.