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The Richmond River is poisoned with rank freshwater, drums of fertiliser, spilt diesel, sewerage and town runoff … the waves are breaking in rancid water, the beaches littered with dead fish, a couple of jewfish the size of an overweight man, slowly deflating, their distended stomachs almost ready to burst.

Silver bream, mullet, catfish, small sharks, flathead, trevally, blackfish, toadfish all white and ballooning and covered with spikes looking like something you could hang off a Christmas tree.

Everything stinks.

Seagulls too used to fresh to bother picking apart the days-old carcasses, sand crabs almost too wary to spot as they disappear into their holes and further down the beach a walking platoon of black crows comes your way. Slowly. Stopping and stooping here and there before walking closer, unafraid, sleek, well-fed, confident.

They only take the eyeballs. And there’s hundreds of dead fish without them today.

Like oysters, Sightless. Liquid. Putrid.


A banquet.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lorraine Lambert #

    Beautifully written Pete. Paradise…lost.
    Grieve gently mate. Lorraine X

    March 19, 2022
    • Thanks Lozza, what’s also interesting is to see the changes in the old mudbanks up river, and the disappearance of all the navigation lights, swept away with everything else.

      March 19, 2022

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