He steps out onto the dry, white lakebed.
Hears the crunch of crystals underfoot.
Tries not to imagine whiteness creeping
over rubber and dusting leather on its
journey to his ankle. He keeps his feet
moving all the same. He understands the science:
the shallow root systems of introduced plants,
the water that rises from deep underground,
bringing with it things that are best kept buried.
He invokes the mantra of electron transfer,
of ionic bonds that form when water evaporates.
Magnesium sulphate. Calcium sulphate. Sodium chloride.
He knows the physics and the chemistry of it all,
but when he bends down on one knee and takes
a pinch between his thumb and fingers, feels the
grains’ sharp edges intent on piercing skin,
he knows it isn’t salt he’s standing on.
It’s the powdered glass they put into the flour.

Adam Ford

Adam Ford is the author of Man Bites Dog, The Third Fruit is a Bird, Not Quite the Man for the Job and Heroes and Civilians. He has written for Australian Author, Desktop, Going Down Swinging and Cordite. He blogs at theotheradamford.

More by Adam Ford ›

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