Big Brother Rules the Waves

by Margaret Bradstock

Orange bollards block both entrances
                             to the empty parking lot
like bulked-up prison guards.
As though you're refugees
steel-wire fences shut off everything
                             except the sand, a desert
you must trudge through
                                   to get to water.
Familiar faces eye you
like suspect strangers. Trucks come
and go, workmen in hi-vis vests
                                erecting further fences.
You are permitted to swim, not sunbake,
brush off superfluous sand
and leave
loud-hailers reminding you
                                     of social distancing.
Where is the inland sea
                        the oasis that harbours you?
For 30 minutes it's still there,
200 metres to the breakwater
                       recapturing the swell of tide
a shifting sky, worn sandstone cliffs,  
then back.
The fish aren't distancing themselves,
                underwater caverns still
as you remembered them, strange patterns
                                     an algorithm of loss.

Poet biography:
Margaret Bradstock has eight published collections of poetry, including The Pomelo Tree (winner of the Wesley Michel Wright Prize)and Barnacle Rock (winner of the Woollahra Festival Award, 2014). Editor of Antipodes (2011) and Caring for Country (2017), Margaret won the Banjo Paterson Poetry Award in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Her latest collection, from Puncher & Wattmann, is Brief Garden (2019).

%d bloggers like this: