The night’s worn down by the ridge
until it breaks apart and day unfolds
like a chapter down the street.

Branches twist into salmon fat
and sand ribbons and strap
my body to the glass limit.

A canyon’s intentions
are dwarfed by a lanky huntsman’s
endless jaw, all black cavities

and stripped light, entombed heat

pouring into that vast, bubbling stomach
crimped by a ruined castle’s tuber,
its ponderous orbits of cicada and verge

until pink flames crack the canopy.
Slowly, the sodden bowl’s wrenched free.
Gumnuts mime the chorus,

sandstone and iron-
stone shiver with rubble,
the opening returns, its slumbering muscle

twitching with the residue of
the current that cut
through clumps of bush

to scrawl its name upon the lens,
back when billows nestled and chattering
magnified into ache, or swoon.





The eye is in the mind,
     molten lens,
     grassed then hurried
with shiver,
     bristled with talk.
     To touch it
is a yarn, an element
     of fable augurs
     the drizzle,
each drop slips into a quick
     little mouth, busy copper
     pops in the Central Desert,
where words carve the laws
     of their origin, let Country
     ferment, or rest
in the strobes
     at the edges of vowels.

     After, strips of light
blow down the valley to sketch
an old bed, the eye
     lost on a somnambulant talus.
     Wet forests thread
plains of thorny bushes
to slogans of bleached-
     white blossom.
     The angle is released from the earth
into the nerves, which melt
into white strings
     down the saddle,
     a tome in trickles    
like the skeletons
     of migrating songs.



[Stuart Cooke is an Australian poet and translator. His latest books are the poetry collection Lyre and a translation of Gianni Siccardi's The Blackbird. He lives in Brisbane.]

Copyright © 2021 by Stuart Cooke, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.