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From: Vol.09 N.01 – A Poetics of Rights

sea fossils

by Cass Lynch
 the sea fossils are singin again      up in the hills where the roads being cut
      spongy tongues           exposed to light by dieseled steel         go ssssshhhhh     sssssshhhhh         while shovel mouth shears off 50 million years     from shoulder of 
 sloping scarp      

    flung rocks of marine sand            rise in a wave of dust                         in the past            this place was sea           the high hills the coast     sea memory just beneath the  
  surface                     the high tide of the Cretaceous             uncorked      to rise and  
        haunt the present      

some sea tongues are shorn at angles by excavator         teeth         they sing a song 
 garbled by time and steel     when the quendas were lobster   
                the banksia anemone             and the kangaroos were rays                 

the earthmover’s song is loud and strong               burning bodies roar in its  
  cylinders          hissing pistons scream and shriek            metal fists bashin on the          skull of Country          rhythmic rumbles drowning out the drowned

        my own tongue is cut        snipped from my mouth        but i sing along             
  the little sea creatures that became stone          are laughing at me        cut tongues spraying sand                         all of us chokin on the words     

      we’re all singin up in the hills         where the toothed present consumes both              past and future              tell me the one about the starfish          who            with a good    
  soaking of saltwater 		             grew back a severed limb                                 
Published: August 2022
Cass Lynch

is a writer and researcher living in Boorloo/Perth. She has a PhD in Creative Writing that explores Noongar stories that reference the last ice age and the rise in sea level that followed it. Her Noongar language haikus, published in Westerly 64.1, won the 2019 Patricia Hackett Prize. Her short story ‘Split’, a creative impression of deep time Perth, can be found in the UQP publication Flock: First Nations Stories Then and Now. She is a descendant of the Noongar people and belongs to the beaches on the south coast of Western Australia.

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.