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.
Siren Fires for August
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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