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From: Vol.08 N.01 – Embodied Belonging: Towards an Ecopoetic Lyric

The Deciduous Quartet

by Jane Downing

1. A Swarm

With the wind at my back
the chestnut leaves
scampering mice
spooked by the coming storm

2. Fairy Dell

The massacre was down the laneway
The shady one near the primary school

The colours of rusted iron bleed into the cement
Around the nubs of the wings

Dozens fallen from the overhanging sycamore
Helicopter pods the size and shape of fairy wings

The shoulder blades too knifed off in rounded buds
The feathery edges gentle on the ground

3. The Spiky Ones

Plane trees
bomb the road not
smooth like ball bearings
trip hazards like ball bearings
landmines in wait the shape of a virus
with all the evil spikiness rough as a pangolin
dropped there to catch the unwary
once the temperature
falls each year
without fail

4. Fossil Heart

Concrete is not a blank canvas
for the artwork underfoot
already striated by the last sweep of the trowel
in the manner of shading scratched
across an etching
A surface not yet dried
before the leaf fell
became caught and died
bequeathing an impression of itself
preserved as if in stone
as if it’d fallen foul of the Mafia
Just the one from the Lombardy Poplars
a fat art nouveau heart
an arrow pointing towards the lake

A fossil reminder when all the trees are gone

Published: November 2021
Jane Downing

Jane Downing’s poetry has appeared in journals around Australia including MeanjinCordite Poetry ReviewRabbitCanberra TimesBluepepperNot Very QuietSocial Alternatives, and Best Australian Poems (2004 & 2015). Her collection, When Figs Fly (Close-Up Books) was published in 2019.

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.