Laura Jan Shore Biography

Five women at the creek
cradled in the whisper
of water over stone, intimate dusk,
the occasional whipbird,
a cackle of parrots,
and somewhere deep in the forest –
a kookaburra.

Only the guttural tune
erupting from woman to woman
suggests grief. Uninjured and yet –
it feels like a wound.
This inarticulate rite
is marked with a slurry of ochre
to bless pale bellies,
wombs long empty now.
A kiss and then the cold
wet mud.

Later, smoke cleanses and binds.
The hiss and sputtering of flame
clarifies the loss
as cycles end.
Raw sounds, a woman’s tears
over the absence
of blood.

Nearby the river
spills and pools,
hatching the moon
and from the crook of a gum,
a tawny frogmouth watches,