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We look for that point of contact
that crops up in conversation or letters
or in surveys of vocation;
pushing its way round, as if the tunnels before
its limp walls are hollow, expectant.
spider orchid is a nerve centre, powerboard
we'll plug into from wherever; steel-capped boots
trample underfoot: wood collectors, shooters,
kids tracking enemies. Where enemies
come from varies with technology;
who apportions part of their attention span,
cries just because the music is in a minor key.
Have you seen
the red leschenaultia flowering in islands, focal
cascades amongst the kwongan?
The pupils fire
and the site pale as further away.
of muscles and component parts urging
a gushing out, a bleeding heart. This is every
one of you built up to a head, to my lungs
so tight I barely breathe, my hands and feet
all maps overlaid, cratered, furrowed, riven, creased;
shadow linked to shadow linked to shadow,
of creed and intentionality. Signals, cages, beacons,
the chrysalis of an unopened pink sunray,
or fields in which poisons weren't understood,
but that's childhood.
Forty years doles out inlays
and extractions, the draining rock
above cave systems that even now harbour
species of animals unknown to anybody—anybody
at all. Out here, sight shuts down;
inside, scant light amplifies.
John Kinsella's most recent volumes of poetry include Firebreaks, Drowning in Wheat: Selected Poems 1980-2015, and a three-volume edition of his Graphology Poems 1995–2015. His volumes of stories include In the Shade of the Shady Tree, Crow's Breath and Old Growth. His volumes of criticism include Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley and the recently released Polysituatedness. He is Professor of Literature and Environment at Curtin University and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University. With Tracy Ryan he is the co-editor of The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry, published earlier this year.
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