Out west

Out west
tough, spiny kwongan blankets the ground
every winter
rainfall trickles through cracks in rocks
fills aquifers
and flowers bloom into a patchwork quilt
hiding honey possums and salamander fish
in the strange rainforest

seeing their opportunity
the white men in bulldozers razed the scrub
the roots gave way to bare sand

a great inland beach

out west
the rains come every winter
so they sprinkle fertilizer on the sand
drill wheat into the desert
plant vines
and wait for the breadbasket to grow
as men get drunk off the wine

the great aerial ocean
for lack of ozone
drawing the clouds down south
closer to the pole
the rain stops visiting like it used to

out west
once too wet dairy country
gives way to wheat fields
and wheat fields
watch the sunset on the Indian Ocean

there’s nowhere left to grow to

salt creeps up through soil
glitters like a moonscape on top of rocks
the creeks run with it

tap water tastes like children drinking from the garden hose
left baking in the sun all day

out west
there’ll be nothing left to farm
but dead stalks
and sand
and salt

and sand

and salt.

Emily Bourke


Emily Bourke is a young poet, originally from Queensland but her heart beats in Canberra. She draws on experiences from her time spent living in other cities and countries to invoke images, smells, and textures for people to connect to.

© 2019