By Millicent Bishop
With artwork by Loni Jeffs
At Cora Lynn I go to shit by a tree and look up.
I see there is a tenuous split in the gum/
a crease in skin.
The thigh or underarm of a great woman.
She is static but stirring on the inside.
Like the foetal curl of a fern,
there is vengeance in her body.
It cuts rings in the bark,
and what was bark but is now interior.
I feel anxious with my face tilted up
at the piptoporous brackets and shakes of light.
The jagged edges of canopy are still,
and the empty channel within me wrinkles.
I leave my own noxious fragment in solidarity.
We will make a death by accumulation – the wife’s way of poisoning.
Colonies of mountain ash;
half old growths/
other trunks hollowed out
by fire, age or magic.
Insides crystallised to dark star.
I imagine the woman that lived inside.
She birthed her babies on the stump,
while the horses looked on.
Hooks were driven into the tree’s flesh,
and beasts were tethered there.
Those monster trees don’t exist now. Defiant growths so big,
they had their own logic, and were cut down.
Behind me the gum woman rocks and changes pose
and the secret earth closes beneath her.
Millicent Bishop is a poet and fiction writer based in Melbourne. She is currently studying Creative Writing and working as a bookseller. Her work has appeared in Cordite Poetry Review.
Loni Jeffs is a writer and artist from Melbourne.