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In Quarantine

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Claire Hall

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Wang Xiuying

IntermittingJohn Kinsella
Close
Close

Outside, intermitting thunder;
habituating
     the place of lightning
a spectrum flourished
     where wire stretched
thirty-three years ago,
     just broken through – rust;
     a pair of massive wedge-tailed eagles
flew towards each other then counter-circled,
     creating a cylindrical reservoir,
a dead zone.
     The unsolved beacon, an avatar,
prodigious interlude,
     oxidation: here,
     twenty-three years ago
you walked in pitch black, sensing salmon gum
boundaries, gravel gutters,
     tinge of cold heat
     buried in fenceline;
distantly, the crossroads, and a single intermittent
light flashing –
     less than flashing, blinking
dully – a compulsion
     driving
the heart rate
     up, a languid attraction, low
and tremulous. If you survive, you will travel
far from here.
     The precision of emittance:
dead centred;
     by squinting, you track
why it is
     that cast out, the lexicon
of the Gospel of Mark
comes out
     talismanically:
farm (9-35) … unclean (11-31) … sinner (6-47) …
     gain sight (6-25) … ?
     And why it is
     those who worship
don’t take the hint:
     tractors bogged down, trying to seed
     when rain has bucketed down,
unable to come to grips
     with moisture.
The light, intermitting, is kind of … unclean.
You can shift blame
     just like that;
     just like Harry S. Truman: ‘The force
from which the sun
     draws its power
     has been loosed
against those who brought war …’, just like Einstein.
Light, intermitting, collates violence;
each step closer
     it doesn’t strengthen: salivate,
perspire …
     deaths in the Australian bush
take a long time to clear up … if ever:
     tin can on gate post
clicks with the easterly, times perfectly,
     phase-switching …
     four-veined,
vacuumed, a hand held out blackens
and silvers, turns … rabbit shooter,
sniper, thrill killer.

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