Noosa Beach

My first dead body is when I am ten.
A buzz below the shimmer
tells us someone has drowned.

We kids stare at him lying there on the sand.
His face is powder blue

like the guesthouse cups and plates
laid out by aproned women at breakfast.

The hairs on his chest and belly
seem too coarse
for an escaping spirit.
More like an animal
on an accidental roadside.

Out in the darker water
surfboards prop against the swell
opportunistic, waiting.

People shoo seagulls and us away.
We decide because his eyes are open,
trying to drink the sky.


Philip Neilsen

Philip Neilsen’s sixth collection of poetry Wildlife of Berlin (UWAP) was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor prize in the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards 2019.

More by Philip Neilsen ›

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