Beach Photograph


The Box Brownie clicks.
Instant still-life —
Three sisters with yabby pump.

Pink yabbies for bait
from the Tallebudgera flats.
Outside the camera’s one intent
the billy snaps and shudders with discarded claws.
Yabbies tumble and skid
in its silver maw, translucent, succulent.

My younger sister’s togs with a flap in front
give trouble with the knots.
Salt water, cloth-tightening sun;
was she, at last, cut out of them?

Proud from ballet class at the church hall
I stand, chronically, in the third position.
The sea-creek is lime juice up to my knees.
Watching for sting rays, blue-bottles,
strange men, sharks, I squeeze
wet sand pinnacles through my fingers.

My older sister is lost to this place.
She’s bound for the life of a jillaroo.
(Her train never goes west.)
She faces that world where she never went
in an aunt’s shirred and bloomered
seersucker hand-me-down.

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