The Damage Done

Someone is revving the shit out of a chainsaw;
We look up from flatlands to the wooded summit,
Up past the hillside paddocks, up at the place of law.

Policemen don’t go there, it’s not their law,
Whitegums cast no shade over sheep, roots of wattle vibrate,
Someone is revving the shit out of a chainsaw.

After the heat wave, vandals cut wood like straw,
The damage done out of sight, we hear them harvest into night,
Up past the hillside paddocks, up at the place of law.

Tomorrow, in extrovert morning light, it will be hard to ignore
Their lines of light, ghosts of the outcrop trapped in granite,
Someone is revving the shit out of a chainsaw.

Night birds stuck in raw, dark air, left to claw
Phantoms and microwaves, asides in the script,
Up past the hillside paddocks, up at the place of law.

Down here, the parrots have returned—there are more
Than we thought. They scan for seed out of habit.
Someone is revving the shit out of a chainsaw,
Up past the hillside paddocks, up at the place of law.

About John Kinsella:
John Kinsella’s most recent volumes of poetry are Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems (W. W. Norton, 2003), Doppler Effect: Collected Experimental Poems (Salt, 2004), and The New Arcadia (W. W. Norton, 2005).