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

slow departure / uncertain imperative

by Declan Fry

the slow departure: water borne, nearly unconscious, allowing
for the sudden arrival of light, granting shape
to the outlines of things, we struggle to swim
while twilight demarcates a world 

about to begin. No punctuation or clarity, the analemma 
of a sea-bend shearing away, interventions of tussock
marking the distance, we part
the water, easing ourselves forward,

uncertain now whether we are swimming or being borne 
by the current’s invitation: the way it decides 
without having to, delineating, without intending to take 
any particular shape. Seamed with salt spray, 

bobbing inquiries of seaweed 
curl, adrift and questioning: an invitation to consider
how far beyond the shoreline we will go, how far
toward the waves, the interventions of this need,

the uncertain imperative 
to make sense of things.

This poem is part of a suite of poems commissioned by Red Room Poetry.

Published: August 2022
Declan Fry

is a writer and essayist. Born on Wongatha country in Kalgoorlie, he has been awarded a Peter Blazey Fellowship, the Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Award for memoir, shortlisted for the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and nominated for the Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism. He currently lives with his partner, their pup, Walnut, and a cat, Turnip.

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.