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Behind me

Where we camp beside the sea

they are catching octopi

that start as lime dots in inky darkness

drawn with bait to the light

I want to stay here, wait for love

to heal in an unfolding summer

but it is time to change my colour,

ignore the real red lure, walk

away through the pistachio trees

and over the ridge of the island

I know when the fishermen bash

the creatures on rocks one hundred

times that it is over. I watch them rub

the flesh with sea water until

tenderised, the sun burning yellow.

Behind me, pink catchfly hems

the tops of ruddy cliffs, and trees

of mourning bridge the gap

between worlds. The bodies hang

drying like knotted shirts on lines

and beyond them, I remember

vivid pelagic blue endlessness

Jane Frank’s latest chapbook is Wide River (Calanthe Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared most recently in Westerly, Plumwood Mountain, StylusLit, Shearsman, Burrow, Meridian, Social Alternatives, Grieve vol 9 (Hunter Writers Centre, 2021), Not Very Quiet: The Anthology (Recent Work Press, 2021), Poetry for the Planet (Litoria Press, 2021) and The Incompleteness Book II (Recent Work Press, 2021). She was recently shortlisted for both The Newcastle Poetry Prize 2021 and Takahe’s Monica Taylor Poetry Prize 2021. In March 2021, Jane was a Feature Poet at StAnza International Poetry Festival (St. Andrews, Scotland). Originally from the Fraser Coast region, Jane now lives in Brisbane and teaches in Humanities at Griffith University. Read more of her work at and

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