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Rail | Stuart Cooke | Issue 4

Tight velocity through pasture, past

gawking quarries of fodder, funereal slops of grass,

roaded rivulets,

concrete slopes, scraps

of potbellied poems huddled on banks and


hearts choked with mercury,

all their dreams too early, language in foam,

I see nothing but feelings,

nada, a ghostly

past, where flames waver drowsily,

enfold suburbs, farms,

until timber enshrouds them,

leaps clumsily over their fixture in

me, my hiding—

—a cast unravelling is still a cast, a fleeting,

an olive partition, tomatoes flickering

in bins, sound

and ceaseless bounding, where did that subject go?—

—a question interrupts what fights and dams it, I clawed

at its crushed lumps, huge river,

fallen tree like a lash,

then cane fields, musical woods clawing the fold

and sweet salutations encircling a swamp,

growing and papery,

wet papyrus drooping through my fingers, tattered,

I clawed at its draped lumps—

—this geometric pause,

its masked exploration, or the recoil from its edges,

this same toxic mask, crouched in unfoldings, in the green,

blistered sewer,

the plastic avenues, the opal flies call,

ripping my attention, sharp crests stabbing witness

with weight, lit bits of secrets crossed through flesh.

Stuart Cooke is a poet, critic and translator. His poetry collections include Opera (2016) and Edge Music (2011), and his translation of Gianni Siccardi's The Blackbird was published last year. A new collection of poems, Lyre, will be published by UWAP in 2019. He lectures in creative writing and literary studies at Griffith University.

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