The Phytoplankton

Mindy Gill


How vast our equine depths

once were. Only us, weightless

living motes of dust –

and what is left of life,

we eat and die in silence.

The phosphor of us diminishing

in the monument

to all that is unwanted:

the ghostnet, the lifeless bloom

of plastic. The chemical

swarm of flotsam

that outnumbers us,

and is home to our sunless

lives. Light, light, how we

long for it. We winnow

through indestructible slurry.

The colossal surface will never

reach our terminating

current. Where life appears,

it is not here, we do not

know it, though it begins

with our murderous survival.

Give me the impossible:

a siltless square of clarity

where I will drift, clean and infinite

sieving the Pacific dark.



‘The Phytoplankton’ was written after learning of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an area estimated to cover 1.6 million square kilometres in the North Pacific Ocean – filled with plastic particles and other chemical debris. It is bound by the North Pacific Gyre and horse latitudes. Microplastics outweigh plankton 6:1.



Mindy Gill’s poems have appeared in Island Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Award Winning Australian Writing, Australian Poetry Journal and the Queensland Art Gallery. She is the recipient of the Queensland Premier’s Young Writers and Publishers Award, the Tom Collins Poetry Prize and a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship. She is Peril Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief.

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