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Dead trees

These trees are dead –

they stretch up, a grey sketch

of scrawny lines against a kid’s book

blue sky. Why they died

and how long they’ve been like this

who knows? Families on bikes,

women in raffia hats, one

or two very hot joggers

don’t notice them. Lorikeets

zip past. It’s too sweaty

and humid for the middle of spring,

the park’s grass already parched

and gasping for the rain La Nina 

promises and doesn’t deliver. 

One day a truck with chainsaws

and maybe a loader tagging behind

will pay these trees the attention

they deserve. After all

they’re the park’s elders, the tallest

and greyest, their fingers

reaching for the sky they’ll one day

ascend to, as the fierce red crackle

of their wisdom blackens

into ash and a new beginning.

Andrew Taylor is the author of seventeen books of poetry, the most recent being Impossible Preludes (2016), and has also published extensively on Australian literature. He currently lives in Sydney.

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