The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 12 no. 1


Robert Adamson

Brahminy Kite


Humidity envelops my boat, black mould
embellishes its trim. There are mullet
gut stains on the seats. Tides flood

in across the mudflats and small black crabs
play their fiddle-claw with a feeble
left bow, day in, night out. My hand swoops

to catch a lure. Talons pierce scales
and a heart. We only come to know the core
gradually, over decades, of each other’s

compressed midnights—white roses
flowering in sandy-eyed dawns, all stowed
to starboard, up where the Brahminy’s wings

catch first light. How did we manage it,
sailing on—weathering
leagues of years? We’re a far cry now

from beating wings and the arched myths:
the swell’s escalator takes us up over the top
of the world into white crests and gull-squawk.

Now there are fields of light to relinquish,
and dolphin fish skittering around markers,
slicing apart an oily sea. Off

Barrenjoey Head, the kite hits thermals
then lifts into a double rainbow
stained with sailfish blood and slime.

Its beaked head fits over my face, sea-spray
stings my eyes. In the murk beyond tiredness,
its wings cut through an atmosphere thick with salt
and the glint of fish scales.