By the time the town hall meeting
is called, they have stopped the fire
at the third green. The wind change
waved in presence back to the lake.
The new town is a suburb returned
to earth, a clay pot of dry river bed
in the gully. Ravens and magpies
compete for air to sing in prolapse.
Seb the Sri Lankan counsellor sits
beside me, his gum boots covered
in cold ash. Back at his property
only some steel veranda posts stand.
He’s sobbing as he takes my half
used tatty handkerchief, not from
any sorrow this time. Because his
house cow trotted out of the cinders.
Squirting her demands there as he
sat between geography. His family
is safe and there are no casualties,
this time we are boats for salvage.