Capnomancy – Chris Armstrong

a season built for divination
one man piling leaves
watching smoke surface
slowly from the altar
of his isolation
standing loose with a
rake in one hand
cutting grids; foot by foot
as if route marking a freeway
to the never ever

fire bridges
to a lone eucalypt
in the far corner
of the station yard
reminding him
of smoke signals looping
light that powerful
transmission; lines as lost
as dwellings on this map.

Now, eyes stinging, lungs
contoured with pain
the standard reference on this land;
temperatures breaking water
capnomancy on a scalegrander than planned.

Our wreck is exposed;
the air was finer once
bare, awash, light
back when we were perennial
guests not inundated with desire
intermittent care
creating lakes of slaughter;
a gilgai of promises

dense timber
the scattered timber,
the forest; pine
for those lost wind breaks.

Chris ArmstrongChris Armstrong’s poetry has appeared in Australian and overseas literary journals and been awarded several prizes. Her first chapbook, The Watershed, was published in 2017. Armstrong is currently poet for The White Bluff Project ( a multidisciplinary art, science and community project exploring ‘place’ with particular reference to the effects of climate and urbanization on a coastal ecosystem.