He braces his legs
thighs right-angled to the thin grey jetty
that pegs a square of sea
then he back-flips
smacks the water hard
This bandicoot boy
his future mapped in wary eyes
belligerent jaw
repeats the ritual ten times over
standing in his own wet prints
claiming territory.

I am photographing pelicans,
their flat-bottomed flight
from mangroves to the fishery,
the awkward pause
between the descent of down-thrust legs
and the folding onto water.

‘Take my photo,’ he orders
backing his heels from plank to air,
taking his arms hard behind him
feet carving up the sky.
‘Got it?’
He shakes himself – no towel.
Salt water spikes his lashes.

‘One more for your wall?’ I ask.
Somehow he’s making me uneasy.

Distance shifts between our eyes.
‘Oh no,’ he says unblinking,
‘this is the first photo
anyone’s took of me.’