Rattle by Maureen Hynes

by Steven McCabe


There’s a new rattle in the wind, a new texture to what blows

around the continents. Spinifex bushes dot the outback’s

blowing sand, its slopes and hollows. Mixed in with red


sandstorm dust: gum wrappers, foil bags, plastic water bottles,

empty tinnies. In the old days, says the Uluru guide, the desert

and its people were self-sufficient – what they discarded


enriched the land. A second Gonwanda is emerging, the mid-

Pacific Gyre’s garbage patch, mirror to the four thousand pieces

of space flotsam hurtling through the stars. Daily I trouble myself

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with the household’s petty excess, jam jars and junk mail,

a bag from every airport I’ve visited. I carry twenty unmatched

lids and eight containers to the bin, the half-life of glass

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nearing that of plutonium. Why not create something of value

with all this carboniferous energy? Yesterday a thick grey

cloudbank was towed across the evening sky by a thousand


invisible strongmen hauling in the snowstorm, obscuring

the sunset. I have finally decided that my preference is cremation.


Maureen Hynes is a past winner of the Gerald Lampert Award and the Petra Kenney Poetry Award (England). She has published three books of poetry, Harm’s Way, Rough Skin, and the most recent, Marrow, Willow from Pedlar Press. Maureen is poetry editor for Our Times magazine. http://www.maureenhynes.com


I modified a photograph from Wikipedia Commons (in images 3, 4, and 6) of descending stone stairs in the ruins of Vlotho castle, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, posted by Wiki user Tubs, GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.