Peace of Mind

You go fishing with Bill every Sunday morning. He has given you a key to his flat because he drinks and sleeps heavily. You can find your way to his single bed without turning on a light - Bill has no curtains or blinds and lives on a busy road. He grumbles and swears when you wake him but you take no notice. Without fishing, both his week and yours would be empty.

At four thirty in the morning, how the bait shop glows. Bill always insists on a packet of prawns but you ask the attendant if he's got anything fresh. Sometimes there will be squid or live pilchards. Abour every six months there is a new attendant but they all have the same look; flannelette shirts, beards, scarred and cracked hands that fumble with the small change and eyes that have seen deep water.

You load the tinnie and motor to a cove at the apex of which a creek tumbles over moss coated rocks. The engine is cut and the anchors disappear into the darkness. This is the time, the moment that truly matters; after night yet before dawn, when the past is silent and the future is only a tingling red and orange point on the eastern horizon. Bill stops coughing. Only the boldest of stars remain. There is a lyrebird in the dense bush along the creek - its call rings across the bay and the incoming tide strums a timeless ballad on your line.

Poems by Andrew Milson

Estuary Evening
Justice in Court 3A