An optimist at heart

Kristen Lang

for Jane W

such a small heart—
fairy wren   mud crab   banker  
belted galloway   tree hugger

just look how we have learned
the divide of things,
each of the heart’s trillions

given names that we might away
ourselves from all
the deep belonging,

the small
ache amid
the remembering.

all our feet
joined to the ground, sky
in our lungs and yet

a pre-framed self branded
along the billboards in the brawl
of our too-many tales …

all of us? moss
in the pavement, breath marks
in the schedules of our hours

where we arrive again,
feeling what we touch,
meaning what we do not speak but

pour into our tongues—
do we want that now?  do we?
ourselves   

becoming land,
becoming   
biome,

the rockets in our minds
veering off into other worlds, un-
breathable but at least

singular—the one red hue
lending its glow. the optimist
hauling the few

trillions into her arms
using the heart that belongs   always
to us all …

pelican   shingleback   code writer
fairy shrimp   mountain ash   poet


Kristen Lang’s Earth Dwellers was published this year by Giramondo. She lives in north-west Tasmania and is working on ways to use poetry as a cultural response to the Anthropocene. Kristen’s SkinNotes (Walleah Press) and The Weight of Light (Five Islands Press) were published in 2017.

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