On nothing

By PS Cottier
High waters by Pixabay

“Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to … have water lapping at your door.” (Peter Dutton, 2015)

She’s wading through water,

and wading through

our liking for the second car,

the nightly dose of super-cool air,

or of sweet winter heat.

Because we can’t be bothered

to rise from the couch

like chilly plump angels

and put on one, just one,

of the many waiting clothes

tucked away in a fly-in wardrobe —

those fluffy ghosts hanging in time —

she’s wading, wading,

until she must learn to swim.


A second woman can’t farm

what she used to farm

because seasons have transmogrified.

Top soil becomes dust, washed

by flood, before care-saved seeds can grip.

She is farming our love of beef

served in sugared buns,

as she tries to raise cassava,

the idea of which forms,

seasoned with used to,

and our piquant insouciance.

And we still spend our time like coins

pushed through a yawn of pokies.

Even Yes! (beep) You’re a real winner!

can’t stir us up.


It is nibbling at us, too,

like so many fire-ants,

or a quieter plague

of dehydrated frogs.

It’s bleaching a reef,

evaporating rivers into dry mouths,

with dead black gums (ah, if only puns

could save us!) and species

are taking a dive, flat-splat into the past.

Time is lapping at our door.

Listen to its parched tongue

rasping on our thin glass.


Or don’t listen.

It means nothing.

That is not a clock with an old-fashioned tick.

Time means nothing, not anything at all.


Review – Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia

By Georgia Cerni

Sophie Cousins’ book Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia is, in many respects, a proposal. For Cousins, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided Australians with an opportunity to reconsider the ways our society currently functions. Cousins aptly makes her case – while in some ways the pandemic reinforced burgeoning inequalities, it also presented us the chance to apply collectivist values to solve systemic problems.