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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

To be a Cat Curled

by Stuart Cooke

Loss is days


the traction of years deflating

the vertical

so that a man, once a pearl in a dark mouth,

becomes sound’s flat plane.

The beating heart is corrosion,

scattering leaves,

butterflies, leaves.

Each mumbling moment.

Each frozen, irretrievable One.

Headlines could be the only things that matter;

the rest is just flesh, flow,


This sense that everything’s

the same and what I see – in the way

a tree emerges or an emu speeds – are the tips

of the freezing.

How to keep pace with the sun?

Never to falter. To be a cat curled

in the corner of a doorway, smiling dreamily.

Can the dream of shade

moving further out across the grass

ever be reconciled

with this tightening stiff of the gut?

On that note, how to follow a poet’s letters

to the memories of childhood

while fixated

upon the streaked darkness, through which

I perpetually, always

without seeing, fall?

‘To be a Cat Curled’ was previously published in Edge Music (Carindale, QLD: Interactive Press, 2011), 15.

Published: August 2022
Stuart Cooke

has won the Gwen Harwood, Dorothy Porter and New Shoots poetry prizes. His latest collection of poetry is Opera (2016). He lives on the Gold Coast, where he lectures at Griffith University.

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.