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Simple riches

eating dehydrated food on the Overland Track, Tasmania – Day 4

Some things are so true we struggle to find their words.
Silent and unassuming, they are the meat of proverbs,
the foods we consume unthinking;
the grain in the flesh of the loaf,
the light crouched in each crystal of salt.

We have walked all day carrying only the cargo of the present.
The beauty of this land burns down my house, leaving me standing
with necessity on my back, desire in ashes at my feet,
the past and future just luggage waiting at end of the track.

Tonight, our meal is freeze-dried Nasi Goreng, a laboratory feast,
its ingredients a stir-fry of equations. At home this is unthinkable,
tasting of the chemistry of the kitchen, not the art. But here,
once the water has been poured and the bag is ripe and plump,
my taste buds flower, steam strokes my cheeks with lover’s breath.
We feast until glutted, then, languid in the afterglow, we lick
bowls and spoons slick with the salty aftertaste of satisfaction.

For really, what do we need? The truth is simple as water
and radiant as fire. To understand that sufficiency is wealth,
that all we need is right here and no heavier than we can carry.
And as the night falls like silt, to know that we will be held,
that there will be wind in the trees, there will be stars.

by Rachel Mead


Rachel Mead

Rachael Mead is a South Australian poet. She has been published in literary journals in Australia and internationally and is the author of three poetry collections: Sliding Down the Belly of the World (Wakefield Press 2012), The Sixth Creek (Picaro Press 2013) and The Quiet Blue World (Garron Publishing 2015).

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