States of Poetry 2016 - TAS | 'Notes from the inland' by Louise Oxley

Notes from the inland


When he goes into that country,
a man loses his thinking
                                  Patrick Mung Mung


A tree opens
a crack in the landscape –

stars bolt from daybreak
and earth themselves in the underworld.

Look long enough
and creatures will emerge from the walls

to spin webs of coppery light
over tussock and spinifex,

cloud will rise and run
from the smouldering fire-stick

of the sun-woman,
long-eared bat will flap out of the gorge.

I will sit here
until the day’s last cockatoo has screeched,

sand frog has dug himself out
and sinks to his belly in a rockhole,

the moon-man has torched the hills
and taken back the stars

and I have held my tongue long enough
to lose the names

I have learned this country with

Louise Oxley