Undergrowth

Catherine Trundle

 

Can you see how this day dims?

Cracked along the cortex of

our ruddy homeland. So shallow and proud,

the ridgeline flaring with the wick of

summer. This year, all of the season’s

heat is crammed into a single week.

 

By now we’ve learned:

The best way to bring a forest back

to life is for us to just

exist elsewhere.

Can you imagine? The howling monkeys

and macaques opening up our house

like a purse, storing my hairbrush and broaches

in the trees like glistening, glad-faced leaves.

 

Picture   us

 

first saviours, then villains, and now

a complicated algorithm.

We learned early. Track along

the flats where the sound is sandy and supple,

avoid the shine of whiskey and campfire.

 

Sometimes, with crates we found by the sea,

we collect up golfballs and pretend —

What freshly laid eggs

What split and briny treasure

nestled in these dunes. Here,

the old driving range is home

to an estuary of light,

lapping soft and blind and poxed.

 

Do you remember?

After the riverbeds cracked, bruising beneath

their own boulders, we realised

Every piece of matter is endless, salvaged

and spliced into grubby recognition.

What a relief to no longer ripen ourselves

within bright white sheets, crystal shined teeth.

Tonight, the damp torchlight hovers,

Sweet William pink, a foghorn

in the viny thicket of our

waiting.

 

 

Catherine Trundle is a writer, mother, anthropologist and academic, based in Wellington, New Zealand. She writes flash fiction, poetry and experimental ethnography. Recent works have appeared in Landfall, Not Very Quiet, and Flash Frontier.

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