the dressing shed


on the notice
nude sunbaking
prohibited is obliterated

no doors on the cubicles

the seats have their own tiled rooves
like post-war plastic children’s toys

the showers
pour down from a great height
like the sun

warm sheltered deserted

here a hundred women once
with perfect modesty
donned bathing suits

now one lone englishwoman
in a bathrobe and wedgies
does ballet school exercises

Neilsen Park
the evening sun
bursts like a bomb on Centrepoint

illegal dogs and bicycles come out
afterwork swimmers thrash by
the buzz of outboard motors in their ears

all day
old people drift with the tide

along a line of sand
their eyes absorbing more and more of the green
and dim qualities of water

like the bleached skeleton of a dead whale
the dressing shed
harbours insects and memories
fading like photographs
of picnics and weddings


at night
through alien trees
their unnaturally shiny leaves
still holding the sun
the soft sea breeze
with its acrid foreign smell
breaks through curtain and mosquito net
dissolving illusions of gable and stone
illusions of home

busily in the dressing shed
termite and dry rot
reduce its bones to ashes
the ant picks over the remains
grass sprouts through the concrete

the abandoned clothes
of bathers passed on into anecdote
pile up inside the wire enclosure
we are forbidden to enter

a jumbled memorial

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