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

The Surveyors (or All the World a Dividend)

by Zoe Boyer

The surveyors came in their
white hats wielding lasers
and levels, and in their wake
they left behind a florid pink
ribbon tied to the branch of
the juniper sprouting crooked
from the corner of my yard.

Beyond the grey scar of the road,
where the land unfurls in green
waves of pine, a twin ribbon
blazes from my neighbor’s tree,
scrawled across the yellow
page of late spring light.

These two brash flags form
endpoints illuminating an
invisible line—the arbitrary
geometry of spaces carved into
polygons of tenuous belonging.

Think of all the things that exist
along these nebulous segments
and vertices: this tree with roots
planted astride the boundary line;
this stone, both my neighbor’s
and mine; this city road that
stumbles at the bend into
a no-man’s-land of cracked
asphalt, eroding curbs, and
winter’s unplowed snow.

Do the bluebirds know, as
they peck through the mulch
of leaf litter and fallen berry,
that with each flit they halve
themselves again and again,
an unlikely equation of nature
fractioned by human divisors—

half here, half there, in two
places at once, migrating in
mere footsteps between nations
drawn in a neon pink hand
by men who know nothing
of nature’s true calculus.

Published: August 2022
Zoe Boyer

was raised in Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan and now lives among the pines in Prescott, Arizona, where she recently completed her master’s degree in creative writing. Her work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Canary Literary Magazine and High Desert Journal.

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.