The fishers drift silently on the mirrored river in the dark
reflections of Spanish lights near the far shore

The small light on their small boats connects them
to the green float light on the far end of their trammel nets
Some kind of magic from where I stand at my window

They hunt the sea lamprey as it swims upstream
to spawn amongst rocks and dark places of the river

A long freight train passes between the river and my window
carrying its load of peeled eucalyptus logs
headed for southern pulp mills

The same Australian blue gum eucalyptus responsible for
devastating wildfires here has replaced much native flora and fauna

The sea lamprey is an eel-like parasite
attaching to a host fish with circular rows of razor sharp teeth
The rasped host bleeds to death or dies of infection

The fishers have serveral names for the fish;
Mouca, Sapiera, Lampreia louca

I wonder at how the fishers
hang their nets and clean them of debris
alone in the dark with only the dim lights along the shore

Now the train passes by empty of its load
snaking upstream along the dark riverbank


Khadija Anderson