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The Day After

the day after

early morning, new years day
a dark awakening, a new beginning…

no second thoughts
breaking the cordoned-off
tomakin road
‘road closed–do not enter’
a barricade to devastation
a barrier to future dreams…

slowly,
driving through
a ravaged landscape
skeletal forests
black paddocks
smoking fence posts
felled power poles
a feeling of accepting one’s fate
but not anticipating the
sheer loneliness…

turning right,
into dunns creek road
in just one kilometre
burnt out homes
twisted sheds
strewn power lines
huddled stock
a rising sun struggling
through the stringent smoke…

turning left,
into woodlands road
-our road, our boundary-
the four bay garage gone
the cottage gone
the two bay shed gone
-further down the road-
(after chain sawing fallen trees)
the three bay garage gone
the two bay horse shelter gone
the three bay shed gone
the house gone
i remember, the horses approaching
their eyes sadly asking, ‘why?’…

patching the fences, fixing the gates,
looking to the moruya hills wondering,
how fire can destroy one, yet spare another
its randomness, its uncontrollability, its mercilessness…

i think of how luck treats people differently,
how my artist friend at mogo
lost his hand-built home and
one thousand paintings
his only superannuation
my heart went out to him…
and on the other hand,
an old friend at fisherman’s paradise
who defending his property alone
and at desperation point was
graced by an air borne water god
dumping 10,00 litres of water
on house and him
thank you water god…

skirting the fence line,
i peered into the rear vision mirror
saw the ute’s parallel tyre tracks
in warm, smouldering ash
(like ski tracks in cold, virgin snow?)
these tracks represented the past
my concentration was on the present
on the headlights
peering through a smoke screen
unsure of the next turn
not knowing what to do…

The Day After

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