Michael J. Leach

Back to the Sea
The Australian summer burns out as we march into autumnal climes. Landlocked here in Central Victoria, I take a short walk around a shallow reservoir. I then pack my deep blue jeep for a road trip to Torquay to catch one final stream of curvaceous, salty waves direct from Bass Strait. When I finally arrive oceanside, I pull up and sigh at the sight of those oceanic waves rhythmically rippling, rising, rolling, and ramming into wet sand. The roiling of that water as it’s sucked back out to sea calls to me with the most melodious urgency. I speedily get out of my deep blue jeep with a foamy surfboard made to ride waves. Clad from neck to ankle in neoprene, I sprint bare -foot through baked sand to the sound, sight, and scent of salt water rhythmically rippling, rising, rolling, ramming, and roiling. My senses urge my legs to move ever onward—back to the only place where nature can elevate me from the monotony of life. Modern Words These words materialise en masse from all manner of mouths & media. The public lexicon contracts & expands rhythmically, changing with #culturaltrends, with advances in science & tech -nology. Word clouds of set sizes & shapes form amidst the greenhouse gases of our polluted atmosphere. Our future is                               skywritten —written not in those                                                  constellations                                                                                                                                 of distant, glittering suns but in our own                               atmosphere, in those shifting                               cloudscapes and our own                                                              SUN. Meteorology is the modern, evidence-based astrology. How could the words be misread by so many for so long? Maybe this has little to do with literacy yet a great deal to do with the fact that, as our globe warmed, the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year changed marginally from ‘truthiness’ in 2005 to ‘fake news’ in 2017. That 2016 Oxford Word of the Year —‘post-truth’— rings true like an alarm bell some are deaf to. Michael J. Leach is a poet, epidemiologist, and statistician who works as a Senior Lecturer at the Monash University School of Rural Health in Bendigo, Victoria. His poems have appeared in Cordite, Rabbit, Meniscus, Plumwood Mountain, the Medical Journal of Australia, Medical Humanities, Consilience, the Antarctic Poetry Exhibition, and elsewhere. Michael’s debut poetry collection is the chapbook Chronicity (Melbourne Poets Union, 2020).    
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