12/21/15

The Selkie Before Summer

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southern fur seal; Milford Sound, New Zealand, February 2008

My long poem “The Selkie Before Summer” is up at Liminality! It’s about a southern fur seal (or maybe an Australian fur seal) who leaves the ocean for the first time to rescue a lover and ends up exploring Victoria and gender and matters of the heart. (And there’s another poem in this issue about a sea creature who heads inland, by Sandi Leibowitz!) Yes, it is yet another S-title poem about skin. I might have gotten it out of my system now but I promise nothing.

Earless seals like greys and harps have always seemed like quasi-fantasy animals to me. I knew they were real, I saw them on documentaries, but they were just so different to the fur seals I was more familiar with that there was something mythical about them. (White swans have the same effect. When I visited Britain and saw them it was a very “how is this even a real island” moment. Seeing a lone black swan amongst a group of white swans in Windsor did not help this surreal disconnect.) But imagine an Australian fur seal selkie walking along a yellow sandy beach, their brown skin draped over their head to keep off the burning December sun, even though every story and art I see specifies otherwise. That’s more real to me than anything involving a grey seal and the Atlantic.

Of course, it is now well and truly summer, but I was in fact in Victoria this past spring, so here’s two indulgent photos. (If the eucalypts look strange, they’re shedding their back, which is one of my favourite things! Such a beautiful time of year, seeing the trees shed and change colour.)

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The Otways, Victoria, September 2015

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The Twelve Apostles, Victoria, September 2015

09/5/14

Zenith’s Wake

Zenith’s Wake is up at Mirror Dance! At 9,400 words it’s the longest completed thing I’ve written since I was a teenager, and probably the first time I’ve had to use maths to work out how quickly a plot should be progressing.

It is about death, grief and disaster relief; stress, relationships, love and homesickness; magic, logistics and uncertain futures.

Some minor notes: Ithikana is a Brisbane-analogue and Istapor is a Singapore-analogue; Australia really does have stinging trees.

05/5/13

Sun Words

Sun Words
australiana, fantasy, summer; 2011; 700 words

It is the longest day of the year. She has waited for today’s sunrise not just since she was abducted from her bed several hours ago, but since she was a child.

Or so the priests said.

She is chained to the stone slab. A quill pen is tied to her right hand. The sky begins to lighten. The priests bow one more time and leave her on the hill. They will come back at sunset. For her work, at least; there is no guarantee that she will last until then.
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