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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

Mangroves, or a treatise on ecological inheritance

by Gavin Yuan Gao

Faceless, of one mind, we have come

to know the depth of our own blood—


not the luxurious blue of sirens nor

the lightning green of pond lilies, but brackish


as the spitting sea that will outlive us—ringing

the ruthless shadows as desire rings the flesh


of the earth. The heart is a long ladder, a mirrored

& sleeved thing. Our tongues have relished


the sweetness of this year’s magnificence, our faith

lush & razor-edged. Out of the clear calm,


a shock of roots—hands of a virtuoso climb

& astonish. Here, in the north, our beauty


besieges winter. Men tread the trees’ memory

brazenly as tyrants do, not knowing the woodland


is our birthright, where the sun is all mouths

& the river writes her elegy on our limbs


tirelessly with her ink of light. Watch us toss

& lurch as a leafy coliseum under the sky’s


metallic sheen, each honest self burrowing deep,

staking a claim on what is ours to inherit.

Published: July 2019
Gavin Yuan Gao

is a Brisbane-based poet and translator. His writing was highly commended in the 2018 SLQ Young Writers Award and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His work is forthcoming or has appeared in The Journal, New England Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Tundish Review, and elsewhere.

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.