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Jarrah (buying the block)

 

Eucalyptus marginata

I am a shooter, the seller says
and neither of us meet his eye
earth, shade of a wound, up high
redtail splays her sudden colours
 
I know what is lost by what is left, fringe
of pimlea, lobelia, crowea, hovea, tassel flower
hakea, banksia, zamia, leopard orchid
catching the sun
I know what is lost by what is left
 
each day has become an act of forgiveness ‒
like browning teeth, stumps of gums
thick-rooted molars rot in the wet
white tails leave, blue wrens return
mauve mist of wisteria, hibbertia’s suns
century-old ring of grasstree won’t let
me forget
 
by back door, the old jarrah’s last surprise
its secret store swells beneath the stump
we dig, burn for days, deep into night
complicit in a way we can’t confront, see now
a monument smouldering in broad daylight
tree blunts our saws, throws smoke in our eyes
 
we know what is lost by what is left, lignotuber
gripping the earth’s bloody hue
find ourselves quiet, whispering to roots, sleep
uneasy, his gun-safe bolted hard in our room.
 
 

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