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in the quarantine

the man asks me about my writing and I tell him
I am listening to the sea, calling me in sleep, pre-dawn
in this precarity, this place of remoteness, am fumbling
in darkness outside on the deck, tying my shoelace
the kangaroo’s vertebrae is curved, muffled, loping,
our minds becoming other, acts of instinct compose
the pulsing hole into which we shuffle, half-animals
Time floats our fears, but our dread is our freedom
sentence by surround sentence, industry’s aftermath
the charcoal gas engines furnacing the salt lake mills
embers smouldering like orange stars in the forest
i prefer ‘wild’ to a compulsory stock of inherited nouns.
any brigand might guess the luminous is liminal,
he who covets confidence has yet to circumnavigate
the unmapped self, his inland sea is fury … ah yes, I recall
it was like boiling tea leaves, being strained, bleeding,
what we do not say is complicated, but who will save
the yellow flourishes of the striated pardalote, nesting
in the eaves, the plaintive currawong piercing dawn?
i am listening not to news bulletins, to branches, minor
variables, silence, pigmy flames, circumstantial praise
after all, there is wind whistling as it bruises the dunes,
praise the shy blue wren, the common emu wren deserve  
what I believe is that’s why the echidna missed my tyres
as I drove back from the jetty at dusk, photographs in mind.

 

"As a poet, my process embodies scrutiny over invasion" – Reflection  Michelle Cahill

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Poem Video

  • Michelle Cahill reads 'In the quarantine'