He divines with a forked stick, following a watercourse
that sings through the hill beneath our house. This is not
the usual him, this is not tradesman-like, it is not jars
full of screws, boxes full of nails, the rotary hoe
that runs on curses as it churns soil in cavorting
unstable lines. This is him with a forked stick, hand
on either prong, like he’s breaking a wishbone with himself
the other end wobbling earthward, tracing some imaginary
line in his head or in his grizzled hands that know hard work
that are almost always cut and grazed and as hard and as soft
as timber. His legs plough through the grasses, the clouds
teary above, as if calling his stick upward to point at the sky.
When the men come with their truck to spiral the bore
into the ground, dropping out great swathes of earth
like archaeologists digging through time, they humour him
say a creek runs where he said – but down here, in the next
paddock two streams cross and it’s here we’ll get the best flow.
Dad’s hands are by his sides now, stick flung into the paddock
wheeling under those grey clouds and into the long swaying grass.