States of Poetry 2017 - ACT | 'An argument in glass' by Merlinda Bobis

An argument in glass

For Jenni Kemarre Martiniello,
Aboriginal glassmaker

As you hold me,
you think your fingers know
I’m glass magic,
this slip and slide on cool satin,
then suddenly I’m water
and an eternity of greens —
O song of sea flowers,
you make drowning
beautiful.
Or so you say.

But what of other shades
or shadows?

From umber to gumnut brown,
we are the ancient corals
that you presume are dead.
But look: our eyes are open,
our mouths are open.
Do not forget us.
Do not resist us.
We are the dead that refuse to die
surging through
the eternal greens underwater:
emerald, seaweed, pine, juniper,
moss, crocodile, olive, lime,
chartreuse with tufts of yellow
like light flickering
and red
like blood insisting,
We are here.

Look deeply.
I’m glass magic
only when you see us.

Merlinda Bobis