I am a prospector
crouching with mud up to my ankles on the edge
of your river
There with my sieve and my hands and my hope
and nothing to turn back to if I end the day
I let the rubbish fall out, scrape the mud
of your indifference through the mesh
But the words! Those eyes!
Them, I keep.
I bite down on these fragments of conversations
and they hold, real
I lift these stares across rooms up to the light
and they shine, real
I pull your friendship apart until it is bare
tenderness and name it valuable
Do you see that?
I have struck gold, surely!
I will move further up the river and find more
I will sift these waters until I am rich
I will tread these banks until you love me
I will move my claim line closer until you and I
call the same land our own
I am walking your shores in bare feet
so as not to erode your natural shape
I fish plastic bottles of insecurities from your waters
I wander with curiosity and affection and want
and ask for a little gold in return
but I am too shy to swim
so, your waters pass me by, giving me gems
or debris depending on the current
and I sit, barefoot, sifting mud
brushing cigarette butts from your banks like
eyelashes from your cheeks
Killian MacDonald is a trying-to-be writer of North Queensland origin studying creative writing at Kelvin Grove. His usual writing styles include short to not-quite-short poetry and fantasy with a sprinkling of angry slam when he’s worked up. He loves fictional podcasts, slow-burn enemies-to-lovers, all dogs and most cats. If you have photos of your pets, he would love to see them.