Green Prawn Map

in memory of my grandfather H.T. Adamson

Morning before sunrise, sheets of dark air
hang from nowhere in the sky.
No stars there, only here is river.

His line threads through a berley trail,
a thread his life. There’s no wind
in the world and darkness is a smell alive

with itself. He flicks
a torch, a paper map Hawkesbury River
& District damp, opened out. No sound
but a black chuckle

as fingers turn the limp page.
Memory tracks its fragments, its thousand winds,
shoals and creeks, collapsed shacks

a white gap, mudflats – web over web
lace-ball in brain’s meridian.
This paper’s no map, what are its lines

as flashlight conjures a code
from a page of light, a spider’s a total blank?
So he steers upstream now

away from map-reason, no direction to take
but hands and boat to the place
where he will kill prawns, mesh and scoop

in creek and bay and take
his bait kicking green out from this translucent

Flint & Steel shines
behind him, light comes in from everywhere,
prawns are peeled alive.

Set rods, tips curve along tide, the prawns howl
into the breeze, marking the page.
He’s alone as he does this kind of work –

his face hardened in sun, hands
moving in and out of water and his life.

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