You have come to me at the Coorong, where my Murray
dances with your Southern Ocean. Your thousand tongues
of current lap my silty flow. Salty Mouth you’re swimming
upstream in my fresh water again. I’m weak against your
current. Salty Mouth, feel your way up my bending reeds.
You’ve gone too far this time. Did you feel that fish cross
between us? Thrashing around, he doesn’t know where
he belongs. Not sure where I’m going Salty Mouth. Not sure
where I’m flowing. Just want to be mixing it with you. Here,
only here, between the banks and the gums that shed their
branches to make snags in our depths. Between the sky
and the silt that clouds us when the fish swim and swish
in our cleft souls. Salty Mouth, you and I are a love nest.
We keep the snags in our depths for the fish to breed in.
We make the birds croon their love calls, they are happy
when we are here together. But you can’t keep me.
You can’t steep me in your salt. There’s a limit to our love
and it is here. I need to flow on my own through the rusting
valleys and plains. Don’t follow me or the fish will float,
After Rachel Carroll, The Coorong – 42 Mile Crossing, 2007.i
Poem by Erin Shiel