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'Poems from the Shack'
By Mary Jenkins


Dotos and Antidotes:

dotos (Greek for evil)
in the abattoir
butchers go into action
possums are shocked
but not quite stunned

four kilos of native fish
make pellets for one salmon
best for export
deformed for fertiliser

bush-fire passes
in the National Park
boys play football
with a smouldering possum

antidotes - small ones -
but how else will we sleep?

Paul carries a first-aid kit in the car
his daughter shows me teats
one for wallabies
one for possums

Suzie makes dog jackets
out of hemp
thylacine striped
cute   unlike the story she is telling

Wedgetail eagles circle
above the smoke-stream of our fire
trees will grow old here
with branches strong enough for nests

New Year morning
moon bright
not quite full
wallaby grazing by my door

On Being Seventy

I’ve been anticipating
these blissful moments
moving in seasonal harmony
so I’ve little fear of mortality,
no desire to rage against the night.
It’s the going on and on too long,
the meddling of scientists
seeking eternal life that I would fear,
not the cycle of life and death
that I can see in my compost bin.

Yes, food for worms seems fine for me.
With solitude like this -
a lizard has just licked my fingertip -
I can contemplate celebratory days,
enjoy small pleasures of my life,
like these biscuits from my neighbour
delivered warm before I drove towards the sea.

There it is   subtly layered   green
blended sun and sand with blue,
topped with clouds
fresh as the cream on my cake.

I take a dip, fast, it is so cold.
Then another.
‘Makes your day’ I say to a friend
sitting alone on the beach. ‘Yes’.

We watch a hawk as it flies over his head.

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