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From: Vol.10 N.01 – The Transformative Now

The Leaf 

by Cath Drake
The woman downstairs calls the leaf awful. 
She says it was trying to get inside the door 
and had stuck itself to the door frame. 

It was as if the leaf, not unhandsome 
with its speckles of red, yellow, orange,
had an attitude problem. She repeats 

awful full of disgust, as if this leaf 
should not exist at all, and most likely 
any fragment of stem, nut, bark, seed 

also tenacious in its presumption to belong 
would be awful too. I find myself picking up 
the leaf like a lost kitten and returning it

to the garden … there you go … as I let it 
get on with its cycle of decay, always 
its plan before the door got in the way. 
Published: June 2023
Cath Drake

is from Perth, and now lives in London. The Shaking City (Seren Books, 2020), highly commended in the Forward Prize and longlisted in the international Laurel Prize, followed Sleeping with Rivers, a Poetry Book Society choice and winner of the Seren/Mslexia pamphlet prize. Published widely in anthologies and literary journals in UK, Ireland, US and Australia, most recently Best Australian Poems 2022, she has been shortlisted for the Venture, Bridport and Manchester Poetry Prize, and has been awarded second and commended in The Ginkgo Prize for ecopoetry. A mindfulness teacher, an award-winning environmental writer, she hosts The Verandah, quality online poetry events for Australian and UK writers. She can be found at

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.