Originally published by Westerly in July 2019 under the title Cockburn Power Station, we republish this poem, with the kind permission of the poet, Veronica Lake, under the title South Fremantle Power Station.
South Fremantle Power Station
A bloated carcass, abandoned to crows,
hulk hunkered down square and lonely;
left to settle, squatting beside the sea.
She is sightless, each blank eyed window
shattered, with splintered remnants of glass
grinning in a grimace of broken teeth.
Over time her interior has been picked clean,
leaving an empty cage of ribs, daubed with
vulgarities, tagged with crude words.
Her humming warmth forever silenced.
The only sound, the fluttering mutter of roosting birds.
Sometimes she wakens to night-time revelry.
Young people come to dance in ecstatic frenzy;
their music pulsing through emptiness,
their bodies heaving, tightly enmeshed,
entranced by the beat, by the heat
by the douf-douf of bass compelling their feet.
Night’s vault is lit by flickering glow lights
banishing darker shadows. For the moment she lives.
Come morning, the sea sighs its morning sigh.
Hazy sunlight pours in revealing newly graffitied walls.