by Roger Patulny
A rabbit smokes beneath a golden pot;
eyes offset and wild
he sniffs the burning evergreen;
soft rump backed into
crevicular roots of acacia yellow
flaring into tangerine.
His faint moustache is twitching,
teeth clucking and clicking,
close to cooking
as the bushfire branches bend about him,
cindered arches, fingers closing,
splintering and snapping.
The little roastling whimpers,
golden nutcracker face
shocked hardening into
with hints of nutty wattle.
A fly-in PM, freshly rested
sniffs the roasting, and responding,
keen to help, pledges here
and now to fund a shooting
club, with fine bush grub,
in the new financial year.
As the flames flicker in reflection
on his glasses, and as his fingers move,
golden pots in balance,
he carefully wipes the mountain ash
from the screen of his mobile.
Roger Patulny is a Sydney based academic, writer and poet, and is the Chief Editor for Authora Australis. He has published fiction in the The Suburban Review and poems in Cordite, Poets Corner InDaily, the UK arts magazine Dwell Time, The Rye Whisky Review, and Silver Birch Press. Excerpts and links to Roger’s recent published creative works can be found here.
by Jak Kirwin
The spiders stood on stilts
as you and yours
made virtue out of indecision.
Words fled from your mouths
Pine needles pricked my ego
as I tried to make sense
of the unravelling tide ahead.
Somehow a cascade of little lies
like a shell.
We played cricket on the sand
i only dropped crucial catches
you’ve seen my clumsy hands.
I dropped the morning sun while
watching dolphins breach.
Now the sun is setting
on girls at blue tables
and boys on silver seats.
Youth in an empty bottle
like waves inside a conch.
Jak is a Brisbane based writer and poet interested in the use of nature as a conduit for introspection. Jak is also interested in political ideologies and their influence on social relationships. His poetry has appeared in Glass and Scratch That. His prose has appeared in The Equal Standard. He can be found on Instagram and Twitter @Jakkirwin.
by Nicholas Perkins
The urge of stones that
stir this stream to rise and ripple
Those flowers bloom
and bend to welcome
fish now biting.
Cicadas sing that sun is hot
and fruit is fat,
but try find them
They’ll find you,
with their pissing-down,
in the dry times.
It’s that fox
that sees you now.
Lock eyes and feel
what he recognises.
Not so different, you two,
in your fevered test
of friend or foe,
to the deep talk
Nicholas Perkins lives in Sydney. He works in education and has been a primary school principal, with a background that also crosses the arts, neuroscience and behavioural ecology. Poetry and music are Nick’s preferred media for personal meaning-making.
by Lauren Hale
You have been here for what seems like forever
Compressed between complexes
You have lost touch with the salt
You can’t figure out what is wrong with you
You are not wrong
You’re not right for this place
I found this out the day we took you to Currumbin
Smiling between waves
Your insecurities flotsam beneath the foam
You don’t rust here but lustrate
The sea erodes the deposits left by the city
Until your sides are smooth
Lauren Hale is a Brisbane-based performer, writer and maker of things. She writes poetry as a means of making forms of feelings she can't otherwise articulate. She illustrates and co-publishes a short story zine called GULP! Fiction (@gulp.brisbane) aimed at supporting local genre writers.
by Henry Farnan
It’s me again.
Guess who didn’t sleep last night.
That’s a lie. I slept for two hours.
The bird in the tree
over the road wouldn’t shut up.
I had to close my window.
Trapped the breeze outside
so the smell of roasted skin just
festered in my room.
There’s a definitive line
between my belly button and my pubic hair.
It runs all the way around my waist
like I’ve been picked up by the legs
and dipped headfirst in hot pink paint.
It happened yesterday.
I drove a friend up to Pinnaroo Point
and we stood in the waves for hours.
When the bird woke me up
at 3:47 this morning,
I stretched across my bed to check my phone.
My red shoulders strained
like trying to rip a hole in cling-wrap
and the phone light purpled me.
My almost-boyfriend had messaged,
he’s probably gonna get kicked out
when he comes out.
The night stayed hot but I wasn’t sweating.
It was a dry heat. Tightened my wrists
and made my lips bleed.
That bird still won’t shut the fuck up.
Henry is currently a student at Curtin University undertaking a Bachelor of Arts. Previously, his short story, 'Take Us Home', was published in Coze #3. His poem, 'The Under-Breaths' is forthcoming in Concrete Queers #15 and his short story, 'The Worship of Mrs Aylett's Son', is forthcoming in Coze #4.