2007/08 – The Coorong SA

Salty Mouth

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,

Salty Mouth.

After Rachel Carroll, The Coorong – 42 Mile Crossing, 2007.i

Poem by Erin Shiel

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