The shearer’s oilstone rides the blade’s silver edge.
There is a swish as one blade closes over the other.
It is a fine tool honed.
He wears blue stretch jeans and shoes fashioned from jute.
When he bends over a sheep, a sprung collar supports his weight.
He has been at this too long;
too many seasons of parties, endless toil.
Now he drinks before he rises.
It livens his blood.
As he shears, forearms popping, sweat runs from brow and back.
He smells of wool grease and stale grog.
It is all he knows.
In the beginning, his hands were steady.
Now the rhythm has gone.
It is the shearer’s curse, and he suffers as few have.