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From: Vol.07 N.01 – Plant Poetics

Banksia serrata

by Vanessa Page

Her posture marked her out as an authority,

clinging to the coast in a chain of tree-bound

buoys, cylinder-shaped lanterns: drawing small

creatures to her body. In her spiked religious

hat, she was dignified, even as her limbs

exploded with buds, and she put out her shingle

(as she knew she must), there was never an idea

of existing for herself. A procession of strangers

with beak, fang, claw – sometimes wings,

sometimes fur, falling upon her suddenly,

heavily in the dead of the night. How exhausting,

to be a source of desire: grow wooden on the

stalk, to wear a death mask of quaint mouths

and eye-holes. It took a dry season for her

to crack open, let go of her inheritance:

maternal instinct holding out, much longer

than she thought possible.

Published: March 2020
Vanessa Page

is a Queensland poet. She has published four collections of poetry, including Confessional Box (Walleah Press) which was the winner of the 2013 Anne Elder Award. Her most recent collection Tourniquet (Walleah Press) was released in October 2018 in Brisbane. Vanessa blogs at

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.