by Jas Saunders
Sometimes when I’m anxious
I’ll write poems on the plateaus
of my palms, blue waves
of ink flowing within their gradients and ridges
When I want to hide those feelings
from the rest of the world like a hermit crab
tucked inside itself, I’ll share
an empty fist, displaying new
and delicate fingernails like bleached white
seashells washed ashore
learning to grow in real time
with the rest of me.
Published in UWA’s Pelican and Peafowl magazines, as well as Perth’s youth magazine Pulch, Jas Saunders is an Honours (Creative Writing) student at UWA, with an undergrad in English Lit and Public Health. Her writing focuses on liminal spaces, nostalgia, or memory, with representation her younger self would have desired.
by Yuan Changming
for Qi Hong
Taking a walk
around the neighborhood at sunset
as if they are crows flapping by
In the twilight sky, the moon
What if it vanished
into an unknown space
as the clouds exchange
their feelings in a hurry?
Seeing a passer-by come my way,
I derail my body & thoughts alike
What if the planet really comes to a pause
during the pandemic?
What if social distancing becomes
the order of the day forever?
What if the season, in other words, lasts
between rain and snow?
Seeing two teenagers approach,
I jump aside and hop on the curb
like a lousy dancer as they run along
What if the doors of my homeland
remain closed until I am too old
or too weak to move, to see
and kiss my first and last love?
What if my family cannot afford to immigrate
to Mars from this burning
or frozen planet?
What if another huge meteorite
hits earth hard enough?
What if what I know
is neither true nor false?
Yuan Changming hails with Allen Yuan from poetrypacific.blogspot.ca. Credits include 12 Pushcart nominations & chapbooks (most recently LIMERENCE) besides appearances in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17), Poetry Daily & BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1929 others. Yuan both served on the jury and was nominated for Canada's National Magazine (poetry category).
by Sienna Taggart
paperbag bush, prickly poppies,
blue phacelia bitter root
—the desert’s offspring sewn together,
rustling whispering their brisk secrets
up the mountain.
I taste them on my tongue when
rain beckons and calls
feel them on my palm,
their gummy milky sap
drying on my fingertips I walk
climbing higher to the Yucca
with her sugary
waxed cream flowers sheathed in sharp points,
roots swelling with sudsy pulp;
I stand before her threadlike neck
concealed behind a bladed fan
cup my hands
as wind pulls velvet tears
from her cheeks.
Sienna Taggart (she/her) is a Creative Writing and English student. Her work has appeared in Dundee University Review of the Arts and The Ekphrastic Review. Sienna lives in El Paso, Texas, with her family and spirited pup, Ronin. She can be found on Instagram @siennaraine_
by Tom Brami
When in poverty, your altitude becomes familiar,
and you realize the difference between being short
and being short of thrift. You fly and think of falling
into the spiral of earth without obligation of forming belief,
like a peach prone to bruising. We are all air bound,
arranged in failure and moving. Observe
her husband below. Right now, he’s changing
by walking the feet to an invisible line.
He is a kind of glass she held to the sun,
an emergent quality present in ways or degrees.
In the future, you will recognize your face
as a groper probing a fisherman’s hand.
You’re a boy crawling into a crevice to sleep.
Anemones stain the sea; birds are lost in migrating sand.
You use them as half buried pillows.
Outside you, a ship is casting a frost
that freezes the ocean. The snow is calm
and reddish, prone to bruising.
Wreathing clouds are suspended on a sphere.
Tom Brami is an Australian writer and filmmaker working on a PhD in Madison, Wisconsin. His poetry can be found in Of/with, otoliths, Futures Trading, Southerly, and Foam:e.
by Emily Bartlett
We navigate familiar rocks
as if scattered by a hatted chef
with careless, exquisite precision.
Driftwood charred and bloated,
washed up, and our silence is sliced
open by the cries of seabirds.
And other pieces of whole float stiff;
crab shell, cicada wing, twig,
cast adrift, sucked into cavernous
spaces, spat into currents laced
with torpid, yellowing foam. How long
to roam before our final resting place?
You really have to wonder.
Never before has this ocean
made me afraid, except
on such days, when churning
water blurs; seclusion hoped for
but not promised beyond the waves.
Emily ‘Emmy’ Bartlett (nee Walsh) is an Australian writer, artist and Pleiadian starseed living between Sydney and Coffs Harbour, NSW. She runs a creative agency and is writing her debut novel, Ozora. Emily is the assistant editor of Plumwood Mountain Journal and loves etymology, singing and the feeling of being underwater.
by Julian Palacios
tonight i taste like warm, wet nothing.
like an excess of self pushed into the crevasses, and
loneliness. it tastes like lemon
and looks like a boy pretending to be the girl of your dreams
staring out the window,
elbow deep in bubbles, and calling upon
some primal part of herself that waits
to do something stupid and make
one glorious, defining mistake.
apron on, children running amok
a fervent heartbeat on hardwood floors;
the idea born no sooner than it is dying.
waiting for you to come home so that she can begin again.
her animation, your imagination, me
holding my breath,
mouthing the words i want her to say but
trying to be quiet.
Julian (he/they) is a writer, cat dad, psychology student and aspiring vampire. He writes poems and gets his hands dirty with good-old fashioned glue-stick and paint making mixed-media collage - all about gender and sexuality, love, obsession and dreams. You can find his work on Instagram @patroclus.incarnate.
by Scott-Patrick Mitchell
Two Black Cats
Night does not know where her shore ends and
their fur begins. In the dark, one cat could
easily stand in for the other. Street light pours
invented sun into pavement. Bushes brim with
wing and insect purr. One cat calls to the other
as if a bird is caught in its throat: affectionate
shorthand. A nest of rubbing. Kerb crests the
edge of street as if a dune. Shard of broken
taillight, a sea rose. The other cat answers with
a long stretch: night envies feline’s starless
arch, how it will never dissolve into day. A
walker-by can feel the touch of four green
moons watching them. The cold regards
everything. Movement bells as if Christmas,
coming early. They make a playground out of
dark, chase each other until the sun colours the
Ecologies & Eulogies
Elsewhere, other ecologies are collapsing. A koala clings
to the top of a burnt blue-gum, searching for leaf and kin,
her paws pink, blistering. In the artery of the Murray-
Darling, cod and carp bloat as the current chokes for
oxygen. Across two hot days, flying foxes amass grave. In
an outcrop, a black-flanked rock wallaby gathers her
offspring near: wind whimpers scent of surveyor.
Serenade for end days: my mother’s fever rambles from
her throat. She tells me how every wrinkle across her body
is a lineage, endangered or extinct. How, as a child, she
wanted to make the world into an Ark. But the only wood
she could craft was a coffin she called a home. Afloat on
elegy, she struggles for breath. Elsewhere, other eulogies
are being carved into earth and bone.
Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM) is a non-binary poet who lives as a guest on Whadjuk Noongar Land. In 2019, they won MPU’s Martin Downey Urban Realist Poetry Award. SPM was recently shortlisted for the 2020 and 2021 Red Room Poetry Fellowship. SPM’s debut collection, Clean, will be released early 2022.
by Dani Netherclift
The moon hangs low
a bottom-heavy boat
gravid with ballast
slipping snail trails, lighting
for more night,
this cycle of terrible sorrows
of griefs, imagine
a susurration, dead leaves
gathered, faded things
like the left scales
at the ends of their lives
all joy leached out,
and today, today
blew in so many wrongs
that might never
be righted, and the mild-faced moon
will not care, will never dim
the silver shine of the spill –
those bodies, drifting, their eyes
wide, mouths like funnels, and
no matter how you call
and call, they will not hear,
cannot look your way.
Dani Netherclift lives surrounded by mountains in the Victoria high country. She was the 2020 winner of the AAWP/The Slow Canoe Creative Nonfiction Prize, and has recent work in Plumwood Mountain Journal, Rabbit, Stilts, Mascara and Meniscus.
by Stephanie Powell
From the sea of the backyard you emerge and look as though you’re in need of watering.
We are beneath the sky, a Filipino-swatch blue, a light paste of trout-shaped clouds.
The air is dry and the bush-figs are dropping.
In a different version of this afternoon, I’d pick you up as though you were the child and ask,
what are gardens to old men?
You would say something like, something to be tender to, something to work on. Then get back to work. It would be the answer I am expecting, though I’m not convinced that it belongs to you.
With the price of petrol, semi-retirement-
there is more time spent walking in circles with the hose, making space for paving stones. The city muted, on upturned glass-roots at the end of the street.
Breakfast is coffee, newspaper ink, two slices of toast. Magpies warbling like heavy smokers
in the trees. You grow things to the taste of bees, with your gentle, gentleman hands.
What a proud man-
to have seen him off to work in the morning, igniting the sensor lights in the driveway at the end
of the day. A few games of online solitaire played before bed. Unwinding in the already unwind
There you go again chasing the birds off the new grass seed. Your new ways of working-
hands waving, madcap under the Jacarandas.
Stephanie Powell grew up in Melbourne, Australia. She has spent the last few years living in London (with some short stints in Canada and Kenya). She writes and takes photos. Her collection Bone was published by Halas Press in July 2021. Her work has also appeared in Ambit Magazine, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Dawntreader, Dream Catcher, Spelt Magazine and Sunday Mornings at the River.
by Jackson Machado-Nunes
sits hugged by a rope
in the waters of Mo’orea
within the pitchless hum
of the ocean
she is the largest coral
a blushing savannah brown
a colour you surely
would have worn.
we all have different ways
of keeping you alive
some of us still mourn you
some light a candle for you
around your birthday
and the anniversary
of your death
some of us
probably avoid thinking of you
attempting to move on
in a way
as swiftly as it seemed you left.
i never cried
i never attended your funeral
but my views on death
are a little alt-left
but what i did know
was that coral gives our planet
half of our oxygen
so i bought Earth a coral
named it after you
i felt it only fitting
as on many occasions
we were forced to steal extra breaths
because our language together
Jackson is a Meanjin based non-binary poet with a passion for Mother Earth, and a mission to see queer representation become commonplace in Australia. They’re currently studying a BFA at QUT, where they were a co-chairperson of the QUT Literary Salon. Find their work on Instagram @deku.eku
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