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From: Vol.03 N.02 – Decolonisation and Geopoethics

Cactus Spoke

by Hannah Clinton

When the cactus spoke hums

the ivory cloak of yesterday’s mist

sunk into the crook of your elbow


—the burnished paradox bird

will make its nest   in the

breath of hell, the doberman watching in

the      shop window will

cradle an orphaned waterbuck,


the cicada’s strum leaking from the

ink stain on your twilled

cotton shirt

—a bicycle wheel will

trip over a discarded guitar

pick    an entire terracotta

village will fade     into paper light


when the cactus spoke whines

seven acres of sugarcane will be

set alight, before the venom of the snakebite

pools in the farmer’s bloodstream      after the

turnip moth hides its young in

dripping roots     a monkey’s tail will

trace a romance in the canopy,

your wide green eyes      blink tourmaline


when the cactus spoke purrs

the nodding saltbush will lose its bloom,

on the jetty a bird’s disguise will throw

distant buffalo, a cracked urn

will spill wine on a dry mouthed desert

Published: July 2016
Hannah Clinton

is a Melbourne based writer and recent Graduate of Monash University. Her poems take the Australian landscape, as both a real and imagined place, as a primary point of inspiration. Her poetry has previously been published in Verge 2013: Becoming.

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.