by Jane Downing
The brain is not something to save
It’s hooked out through the nose
So why listen to it whispering
why would he lie to you
believe him do
The guts, now there’s another thing
Eviscerate and scoop and jar
And put on a shelf for the ever-afterlife
Balance the jackal head on the stomach
Stopper up the gut’s shout
it’s all wrong
don’t believe him
Stick the beaky falcon on the jar with the intestines
let them turn alone in queasy pain
Lungs that cannot breathe when they hear the lies
stick them in an alabaster jar
make a fat-bellied baboon of them
Cut out that organ and give it a human face
lidded with serene green-glazed eyes
Let this civil war end
Because the heart, the heart
is left in the body even after death
There is no canopic jar to hold it
There is no hook to extrude the bloody mess
It is left in the chest
It is left gasping
love, love, love
Jane Downing lives and writes on Wiradjuri land. Her poetry has appeared in journals around Australia including Meanjin, Cordite, Rabbit, Canberra Times, Bluepepper, Not Very Quiet, Social Alternatives, and Best Australian Poems (2004 & 2015). Her first collection, ‘When Figs Fly’ (Close-Up Books) was published in 2019. She can be found at janedowning.wordpress.com
by April Bradford
I inhale the sticky air.
A kookaburra laughs at me.
Memories rattle, erasing
the good. Backhanded
words weave cobwebs
of honeydew resin
around my ribs,
cinched with dew drops.
no shelter nestled
beneath skeletal limbs.
Sink into nature’s comfort
until the undergrowth bites.
Ingest sunlight, sweat and green
lemon crawls on my tongue.
I wake to laughter.
April Bradford (she/her) is a UQ Creative Writing graduate. She works as an intern editor at Hunter Publishing and freelances on the side. Her writing currently features in the Toronto zine, Sapphic. Her irregularly updated Instagram is @april_elisabet.
by Megan Cartwright
Do you ever catch a half-formed image
fluttering at the edge of sight or sleep?
A fragile thing that you might have imagined
if not for the metallic dust left on your skin.
My grandmother's handwriting.
I recall arthritic Cs - but they are from later.
In this memory I am only twenty and
she is nimbly formed cursive.
She breaks macadamia shells open with a rock.
Her bare hands are not made of tissue paper and
she is laughing and feasting.
We spend an afternoon in sunshine and retire for sandwiches.
Later, she makes cocoa on the stovetop,
even though it’s summer and too hot for comfort.
We pull husks from beneath our fingernails
and marvel at the simplicity of the day.
Megan Cartwright (she/her) is an Australian writer and teacher. Her poetry has been published in October Hill Magazine, Authora Australis, and Oddball Magazine. Recently, Megan was awarded a highly commended accolade by the Independent Writers Group of NSW for her entry in the Pop-Up Art Space competition ‘Haiku – Capturing a Moment’.
by Claire Fitzpatrick
CW: alcoholism, trauma, family violence
My mother had a broken
force field. When she drank
it would collapse
and her sadness would erupt
like spilt sugar –
not a few specs here and there
but enough to cover a whole table.
As a child, I thought it was normal
to cry and shout and break things
so I would cover my head with my pillow
and tell my younger sister to ignore
it as best she could.
I still think motherhood is spilt sugar.
Claire Fitzpatrick is an award-winning author of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is the 2020 recipient of the Rocky Wood Memorial scholarship fund for her non-fiction anthology ‘A Vindication Of Monsters – essays on Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft.' In her 'real-life' she works in a wholesale nursery and doesn't use her degree.
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