Lake Eucumbene – Overland #241

I’ve been terrible at posting my publications in the last 8 months, so I’m going to try to catch things up over the next couple of days.

Way back at the start of the year Overland published Lake Eucumbene, a poem from Our Tongues Are Songs. I’ve been sending work to Overland since I was a kid writing short fiction and chunks of never quite finished novels. It’s been fantastic to watch the journal shift and change over the years as different editors have taken control. Previously I’d been published as part of their online weekly poem series. It was great to final make it into the print publication.

The poem tries to draw together ideas about place and memory, how the past is always resurfacing. Lake Eucumbene and Adaminaby have been flooded over by dams created for the Snowy Hydro Electric scheme. When the waters of the reservoir are low some of the buildings of Adaminaby can be seen jutting through the surface.

Here’s the first few stanzas of the poem:

Lake Eucumbene

Eucumbene has fallen below the stump

our old lives lift their lips through the water 

surface to sip air. In the umbrage of our kitchen 

my mother is frying trout, there are crumbs 

on the bench, flesh sticking to the pan, 

butter smokes. She flips the fish

onto a plate, cuts more butter into the pan

it smooths to a quivering pool. 

She asks me why I’ve been so long. 

Adaminaby has risen from the water, 

my mother has told this story in bubbles

since she passed. We know

there are waves. 

When she walks from the room, 

I try not to follow. 

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