Tree Begonia Cohabitation

Patricia Sykes


North-facing, a sun pact

between flexible and rigid

the wall as back rest the begonia

as flexor, out-leaning, its eye on

the secateurs, their urge to prune

to severity’s edge impeded by

spiders, a canny spin and drape

of webbish life and death among

cane-stems pliable as fishing rods.

May butterflies escape the deadly

silk (favouritism is a separatist?)

The boronia thrives on, microbially

content to bloom when spurt says

time. Secateurs can learn to step

aside. Playing border guard

would end whatever’s going on

—arachnid, host, visa none



Patricia Sykes is a poet and librettist. Her collaborations with composer Liza Lim have been performed in Australia, the UK, Germany, Moscow, Paris and New York. She was Asialink writer in Residence, Malaysia 2006. Her most recent collection is Among the Gone of It, English/Chinese, Flying Island Books, 2017. A song cycle based on her collection The Abbotsord Mysteries is in preparation.

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