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.