Mary-Jane Duffy

She breaks down

Will she turn into a tree? We look up from
our community gardening. Clouds like loose dogs


lope the horizon, the horse in the next paddock
whickers in agreement and raises its tail.


Amongst the rotting grapefruit, grief comes. She sinks
and shrinks – she lets go. The layers fall away like onion


skins. It’ll take them the longest to dissolve. Our feathery
feathers whistle in the wind. We gather, crunch down beetles


wrestle bindweed, and kick up the dirt with scaly feet.
We peer into the holes we’ve made watching


for shiny movements. The worms avoid us, work towards
her. The wrought iron radiates – the soil crumbles


and melts. We touch it to ourselves. In the henhouse
a Grey Dumpy clucks and croons. It won’t be long now.

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