Friday, October 5, 2018

Clarke and the Moth

There is a karri moth that hangs around my head lamp; flying into my face and leaving her dust on my cheeks. 
There is the photograph on my pin up board of six men standing in front of a wooden boat, up to their shins in water. The shortest man, he has no neck and he wears a hat. He is the one someone has scrawled ‘Herb Clarke’ below his figure, the hermit of inlet legend. It is the dry boat, that boat, an old woman tells me. Spent most of its life on dry land. You needed to soak that boat in the inlet for a few days for the timbers to swell. Then bail it out with a powdered milk tin. The other men who stand beside him are taller. They all wear hats too. On the evening I met Herb's mate, he was ninety years old and he had a red scab on his nose. I showed him the photo and he told me about Clarke, while his sons stood around the table, listening to their Dad. His wife put dip and chips on the table for us all.

Photo thanks to J. Rooney.