On the Breaking Down of Leaves, & (Not a) Big Deal, Lauren Forner

On the Breaking Down of Leaves Your tangled intricate lacemore finely-spunand delicateas you waste away –emaciated –in your attempt to sustainthose around you. Your fall is soft and noiselessa sail to a forest floor,your sacrificeunnoticedand your gold skeletal remainsincomparable tothe bright and gaudy bloomsthat shootfrom your slow melt into the earth. Glossy foliageand scented stamens;nature’s […]

Spring where you can see it during Covid-19, M. Tara Crowl

I live here now, in my old country houseWith the barn out backI fold clothesEmpty the dishwasherTake dirty diapers straight out to the big plastic bin(No more diaper pail; the mice got in)I pitch, to no availMy stories go nowhereNeither do I Some days, the sun comes out to green the grassCrocuses wave fingers through […]

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Xenophobia is a Virus, Sing Tuck Jonathan Chang

Racism isn’t getting worse, it’s getting attention. From deserted Chinatown districts to plummeting sales at Chinese restaurants to the violent abuse – both verbal and physical – people of my skin-tone bear the weight of the colonial gaze in extra measure. Viral paranoia spreads faster than viral infection, and COVID-19 gives them an excuse to […]

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Inside a Sunless Sea, Tanya Lake

The bottom fell outOf my pants the other day.In Wuhan provinceA black swan dived.I tightened my belt,then took a stumbleAnd all across the worldWe heard the rumbleOf turbulent skiesClosing inInside a sunless sea.

Mal Bligh’s Dream, Jamie Derkenne

Knowing I had nowhere to isolate, a grazier I sheared for offered a small hut on 2000 acres down Albury way, near a place called Burrumbuttock. He told me Larry and I could stay as long as required, in return for keeping an eye on the Murray Greys and the fences. We settled in well. […]

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Another Man’s Child, Elizabeth White

NOW It is a clear evening in late July. Light leaks into the old house from the moon and the street lamps, through the louvers of the enclosed verandah. Outside the Queenslander, a mother and baby possum are crawling along a power line running from Kathleen’s roof down towards the street. They are the only […]

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All Good Things, Catherine Panich

You probably know the feeling. Boarding lounge, ten minutes to go. Bottle of water drained and tossed, carry-on at your feet, pass and passport in hand, one last message then switch to flight mode. No, off. I wonder who’s going to be sitting next to me? This flight out of Arctic Kirkenes would land in […]

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Deadly Traffic, Jacqui Greig

The email blipped onto my phone as I boarded a flight from Diqing to Kunming in China’s south western Yunnan province. I tapped the little aeroplane icon and walked down the jet bridge. Later, as the Himalayas passed below, stereoscopic and horizon-wide, I read, ‘A mystery virus is sickening people in Wuhan. Stay away from […]

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Miss Phillipa, Melanie Ifield

The doctors all agree that for me to feel entirely myself again (such an admirable ambition) I am to make my way to the seaside for a week.  I emerge from a six-hour bus ride at a foreign bus stop in a foreign town. It is late and I am hungry. I am not supposed to feel […]

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The Beast, Amanda Midlam

The monster fire that ate Mallacoota on New Year’s Eve and spat out charred toothpicks is galloping towards us. Just a few days into 2020, the mayor of Bega Valley Shire makes a heart-quaking announcement. My town of Eden will not be defended. How can a town of 3100 people not be defended? The answer […]

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