Published in Overland Issue 212 Spring 2013 Uncategorized one of us has chosen to come to the sea Liam Ferney i. as calmly as a trader buying debt one of us has chosen to come to the sea the one marching behind as surely as the standover man’s shotgun nudges the victim to a freshly dug bush grave why when confronted by grave responsibility are we unable to run why have you bought those rusted chains trawled through the dust the night settles on the lips of dusk smiling as sinister as carrion crow as surely as the sand gritted between our toes we woke early to cross alleyways and boulevards whistled jingles skipping the length of the piazza broken denizens milling around the central train station refugees laden with violins and passports that last look at a living room before the bombs shrieked like kettles forgotten on a stove in a crumbling kitchen in your wallet there was only leather where once you’d kept a photo of me but who can be sure and of how much at least that’s what you said and when asked i remembered that much remembered it clearly i have accepted my choice to die every time you remind me i cry ii. if you want to set me to sea – do it swiftly, you want no witnesses as i bob beyond the breakers storm bracken knotting on the wet dunes – you are mistaken to think i can be saved we are acquaintances nothing more the dampness of your sex must tell you that i may have said i loved you but i never meant it do it quickly set me to my haulers so i may cut a swathe through the rip tides and spray iii. but if you mean to do it do it swiftly i am no ahab these years shall forget you as i shall is that vanity enough for you i have bought up the rear of funeral processions lingered too long over coffins iv. i cannot be saved you said you loved me you were my hauler but i have grown weary of sand despise its distractions hate it as no man ever has v. Do you believe in the rapture? I can’t be sure. So long have I drifted without death. vi. vii. For four years I have pondered what you said, your face ashwhite and eyes hollowed shunting me into the sea. That day, the sky, breaking like a vow, the tiny fish and their tentative nibbles. We had no debts, we had always agreed that was the way it should be. You lay weeping in the woods they were not lycan we spotted flitting through the trees. I flinched at every cracked twig, every possessed loon. It was too early to flee but too late to escape their hoods skipping into the shadows mosquitoes searching for the freshest flesh. If there were warnings we had ignored them. viii. You were the master who reared me. Sold me as a slave to the tides. After many years, I will meet you again, and love you as a sister. ix. why were you always there when there was killing to be done you were never brave enough to leave the bodies in back fields you threw me a handful of dirt to build an island when there was no killing you found some to be done we had world enough and time but it was not enough could not be enough at least thats what you said it was not for nothing though i think i lost the sea will swallow me punish you my promise to the waves, as i slip slowly under Liam Ferney Liam Ferney’s most recent collection, is Hot Take His previous collection, Content, was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award. His other books include Boom (Grande Parade Poets), Career (Vagabond Press) and Popular Mechanics (Interactive Press). He is a media manager, holder of the all-time games record for the New Farm Traktor Collective and convener of the Saturdays readings in Brisbane. More by Liam Ferney Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 1 December 20221 December 2022 Reviews Calling the racist a racist: Janaka Malwatta’s blackbirds don’t mate with starlings John Kinsella Malwatta is a skilled and motivated user of tone and tonality in expression, and he shifts between perpetrator and victim with a disturbing but powerful ease: we hear the racists in the hospital, we hear them at the barbecue, and we hear the racism coming from the mouths of white leaders and dissemblers. First published in Overland Issue 228 30 November 202230 November 2022 Politics The return of public power to Victoria? Zacharias Szumer The newly elected Andrews government has promised to bring public ownership of electricity back to Victoria. However, there are no immediate plans to reinstate the public utility model that prevailed through much of the twentieth century. Rather, a publicly owned renewables company will operate within an electricity market shaped by decades of neoliberal reform.