Rottnest Island

As he rested in the hotel, he reflected on his visit to the island. The salt lakes and strangely eroded limestone cliffs seemed to correspond to the rhythms of his own nervous system. The gargantuan machines at the port and the hulking, rust-stained carrier vessels at anchor out to sea reminded him that despite its apparent isolation, this landscape was part of a global network of trade and exchange.

The abandoned WWII gun emplacements, which mapped invisible, circular patterns of bombardment and counter-attack onto the coastline, were utterly serene. Swallows had nested in the cool shade of the bunkers. Light aircraft wheeled overhead, their engines muttering and growling.

Later, he would discover that he had not applied enough sunblock to his left wrist. A painful weal of red was marked with a round, blank stigmata, like a clock-face with its hands removed. “I really should have taken my watch off,” he thought.

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