Lake Eucumbene

Eucumbene has fallen below the stump
our old lives lift their lips through the water
surface to sip air. In the umbrage of our kitchen
my mother is frying trout, there are crumbs
on the bench, flesh sticking to the pan,
butter smokes. She flips the fish
onto a plate, cuts more butter into the pan
it smooths to a quivering pool.
She asks me why I’ve been so long.

Adaminaby has risen from the water,
my mother has told this story in bubbles
since she passed. We know
there are waves.
When she walks from the room,
I try not to follow.

Outside her kitchen, there’s a crumpled church
dying in the mud;
the bag I packed has split open,
my clothes have disappeared,
five decades of silt has covered a stack of dinner plates.

The parts we don’t need have been turning into clouds
they open on other lakes
break the surface.
Rush into rivers, fall
into the mouths of fish,
buried in a stomach shaped by gills.

We are fluid as broken promises,
the water recedes before us.
We walk into the mud,
bare feet, graceless ankles, sliding, stones at our heels


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Rico Craig

Rico Craig is a poet, writer and workshop facilitator. Bone Ink (UWAP), his first poetry collection, was winner of the 2017 Anne Elder Award and shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize 2018. His recent collections Our Tongues Are Songs (2021) and Nekhau (2022) are published by Recent Work Press.

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