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ADAMSON, R obert

Green Prawn Map

in memory of my grandfather H.T. Adamson

Morning before sunrise, sheets of dark air
     hang from nowhere in the sky.
No stars there, only here is river.

     His line threads through a berley trail,
a thread his life. There’s no wind
     in the world and darkness is a smell alive

     with itself. He flicks
a torch, a paper map Hawkesbury River
     & District damp, opened out. No sound
but a black chuckle

     as fingers turn the limp page.
Memory tracks its fragments, its thousand winds,
     shoals and creeks, collapsed shacks

a white gap, mudflats – web over web
     lace-ball in brain’s meridian.
This paper’s no map, what are its lines

     as flashlight conjures a code
from a page of light, a spider’s a total blank?
     So he steers upstream now

away from map-reason, no direction to take
     but hands and boat to the place
where he will kill prawns, mesh and scoop

     in creek and bay and take
his bait kicking green out from this translucent

     Flint & Steel shines
behind him, light comes in from everywhere,
     prawns are peeled alive.

Set rods, tips curve along tide, the prawns howl
     into the breeze, marking the page.
He’s alone as he does this kind of work –

     his face hardened in sun, hands
moving in and out of water and his life.