a shared grave unshared:
stone sculpt in expectation
A splayed page engraved
one side forever undated -
a century’s lichen can’t obscure:
this bed’s half-empty, un-mated.
It speaks unwonted happy endings,
remarriage, remove, release
for she who held a ripening hand,
looked into a cooling eye
swore she’d go to the lip of dark
and join him by and by.
The Ly-ee-Moon Cemetery, Green Cape, NSW
The clearing is hemmed solid with twisting banksia
and a coming tempest’s thickened air.
They hauled the bodies here
brined and laundered
to be always within hearing
of the thing that killed them:
the concussion of water and rock.
Green Cape Light sweeps a clockwork eye
but quick, quick, quick.
It is not a searchlight,
cannot fix upon a point,
upon one figure torn away
one trapped by the shoulders in smothering foam,
another snatched from rescue’s arms
and given up to rock.
The timbers sounded all night.
Some are named here, others not.
For each, one simple whitewashed rock:
the cook’s friend;
a woman, unaccompanied;
the man with the German accent.
Their psalm is the seasonal cicada,
the susurration of small birds,
the booming bell of water-beaten rock.
Over the century, sand has shifted.
Finger bones have reached for finger bones,
pelvises tilted, craniums touched.