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A Passage Through by Angela Gardner

it looks hopeless

on the flip: the forest, the hurled world overhead

its falling horizon clearly inserted beyond immaculate.

Under the derelict sky a dynamo skews through

landscape sharpening the sun. I breathe a nowhereness

familiarity removed. In the lost figure of myself

we are marked as random and excessive. This is not

how you look at a lake. 

You were the nearest

to real in my life. Now volatile currents haze the wind,

blackened columns replace eucalypts and intermittent

chemical-flare enters our breathing. The gaze’s touch

is distraught over charred ground, body-clutter,

animal truth. We fight against corrosion, silt tongues

learning a swallowed language. It is a bleak corridor

lined with condolence.

And here’s the thing

sometimes you can’t read a passage through for

creeping erasure, economic grasping, ourselves.

Mirrors fold, hollow against many enclosures, as we look

elsewhere for an exit. Emotion, concealed maybe.

A place only in my mind, where still there is an idea

of returning.


Angela Gardner has six poetry collections including Some Sketchy Notes on Matter, Recent Work Press, 2020 shortlisted for the Dorothy Hewett Award and the Thomas Shapcott Prize winning Parts of Speech, UQP, 2007. Her verse novel The Sorry Tale of the Mignonette, Shearsman, was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year, 2022.

This poem was selected by Anthropocene Guest Editor Tom Branfoot.


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