Aftermath

By Bill Cotter
CazzJj/Creative Commons

The sea lopes towards its usual blue dreaming afternoon.

Clouds unfurl their grey, white sails and form leisurely,

Distant loops. But, strewn

Along the beach, black and spidery,

Thin, unstable lines mark the flames’ demonic dancing

And on the cliff tops, like bodies ashamed of their nakedness,

Skinny tea trees and banksias are hanging,

Silent in their condemning ugliness.

Branches litter the dunes, smelling

Of wet smoke and tracks have become going-nowhere scratches,

Blistered ashen grey in the clearings.

But, almost unnoticed, two magpies

Pick unashamedly through the debris, pry

Among the charred, chewed leaves, then rise

Back into the stringy afternoon sky

And within a shallow circle of light,

A nondescript plant spreads brave, leathery fingers.

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