weather from the West

we get our weather from the West
the heat rises there
the cool descends
from Perth
across the Nullabor
until Adelaide
then through Bordertown

to claim the checkerboard of spaces
from the Murray in the North
inland over the Great Divide
to the Bay
to the ocean


it is 1,000k
from the place that claims me
to Adelaide
a mere moment
and a time change
through the skies

we inhaled the acrid leftover taste
last remains transported in smoke
as we left the ground

Victoria is burning
and the dead ash
the loose particle-debris
infiltrated even the metallic lungs
of an aeroplane

and when at last the air
seemed clean enough again
to inspire
it stretched below us
that dirty brown that is distinction
from mere cloud
unbroken to the long away
of the horizon
1,000k of ash
spread smooth to catch us
should we perhaps to fall
before arrival


for two long days
the temperature has risen
41C 44C
the weather of the west

I feel it on my skin
I picture it
as a magnifier of flame
incendiary to the dry grass
and brittle bracken
intensifying the cruelties of endurance
adding ash and char
to fill the whole of the sky
to suck dry any foolish last-hopes

but today there is change

the wind will not be helpful
but it is cool
with the phantom smell
of a few fat droplets
striking the dusted ground
only so very few
but above all

and now I am thinking
if truly we get our weather
from the West
then god speed this chill blast
these handful wet splatter-drops
may they pass
like a frigid wrath
from here
in the West of weather
to home

© Frank Prem, 2003



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