The Demise of Hilda Johnson

Mangroves shield sandy banks from speedboat wash.
On sunshine kissed ripples
diamonds blink in and out of existence.
Wasps drift on micro swells.
Clouds peek over the tree line
like abominable vapor men.

On the ocean side,
Senator Hilda Banks clicks on the most elegant heels
she’s seen since Imelda Marcos
gave her a guided tour
of her warehouse dwarfing wardrobe.
In the buying frenzy that follows,
she battles grimly
to stay within a monthly limit
that could bring Christmas to a country town
for a generation.

A wren species not spied since federation,
is wounded by a lunging feral cat.
It crash lands on Hilda’s shoulder.
She swats it into the ocean,
like it’s just another blow fly.

A news report, highlighting decades of warming,
captures her attention for the time it takes
the critically endangered bird
to drown in a rock pool.
Ridiculous, useless modern thermometers,
Hilda murmurs as she waddles,
from her mansion scale motor home,
to the lookout
The grandest solar model could have powered
her satellite televisions and arsenal of hair dryers
but Hilda can’t bear to waste good oil and coal.
She’s ordered a truckload of each,
to supply her camping needs.
A traumatized dolphin submerges
after witnessing her masturbating
before a waxwork likeness
of her favourite fossil fuel lobbyist.

Thunder confirms the sky has taken offence.
Clouds erupt.
Beyond the frothy cauldron where the beach was,

monstrous surf is barely distinguishable from bleak skies.
Ephemeral billabongs and rivers merge.
Hilda’s hilltop camp site is a shrinking island.
Cocooned inside her mobile palace
she snorts derisively at an article
on the correlation between climate change
and extreme weather events.
She’s oblivious,
until her monument to the fossil fuel industry
is launched into the Pacific.

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