MANGROVES

that timeless summer
three marauders hop from aerial root to root
trying to avoid the shoe sucking mud
sticks prod crabs and mudskippers
as they wait for the tide to turn

by low tide they own these mudflats
intersection of creek and river refined

lines in the ooze
slurp and lurch of steps
air thick with bugs
sun burnt migrant skin
sulphurous tracks
the animal shape of roots
coming up to breathe

remnant sandstone blocks
outline a boatshed jutting into the water
enough to drive out the last
of the Wallumedgal one hundred years before
the lines food sources disrupted
connections and links
with seasons past and future obstructed
the sheltering sandstone overhang exposed

three boys with sticks digging
a mullock heap nearby
oblivious to the midden
generations in the making
of oysters and shells discarded
food and cutting tools extracted
pirates in their bubble

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