Jane Gibian


from nowhere                               oversized leaves shoot

roundness against charred ground                     coal-black


that blackness                a ceremonial mourning for the death


of the glacier                 a dark patch of density

like ground glass            in the lungs


a day warms, loosens                            plaits untwisting

around the shoulders


almost hand-sized                    leaves of lucid green

emerge            from burnt trunks


sandpaper on one side             the other velutinous

claret shine of miniature shoots

amongst monsters


enlarged:           daylight, termite mound, birdsong


compressed:                coolness, moisture, twilight


plants gather clues

that augur combat


the day warms, loosens


disappearing                            in the restless mosaic

of eucalypt canopy


each leaf extant

holding fast



Jane Gibian is a poet and librarian whose work has been anthologised most recently in Contemporary Australian Poetry (Puncher and Wattman) and Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry (Hunter). Her publications include tidemark (Vagabond Press Rare Object series) and Ardent (Giramondo). In 2020 she will be undertaking a Varuna Residency Fellowship.

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