River: contra/indications

Even if I see and don’t see the river’s writhing
the fish    daphnia   algae  the water   the water
the swelling of   ritalin    warfarin   methotrexate

Even if I bend or don’t bend to the flow    ingest
bitter tasting wonders as do aquatic insects    riparian spiders
soaked in   memantine   codeine   fluconazole    mianserin

Even if the nerve system of antidotes flushes me with tics
‘Platypuses feed on the insect larvae that live on the creek bed’
aggression   numbness   memory loss   unwanted rules of the algorithm

     Past the old flux of   apoplexy   breakbone dropsy    grief
     grippe   horrors   jaw-faln   lethargy   lockjaw   nostalgia
     palsy   quinsy   rickets   scurvy   spleen

Even if I know it’s too much and not enough   ‘with ageing infrastructure
there’s some leakage’   with my own sweet body   is all I offer
baptismal slough of perfume cologne skin lotion sunscreen

Even if the nerve system of doses will cure my blurred vision
steroids move from cows to waterways through banks
and sediments   tiredness   aches   anaemia   unusual bruising

Even if my nerve system splits from its diminishing returns
Silent and hardened   destroyed   duplicitous and   dumb
I’m not quite lost though I may not speak up

    In that plagued flux   dying still navigates living
    welcome stone-fly larvae   leafy twig-rush   all you tiddlers
    everything as part   of things   nothing to rule earth   but little ones



Quotes from ‘Drugs in Our Waterways, the Bugs and Beyond’ by Bob Wong and Erinn Richmond. https://lens.monash.edu/2018/11/06/1364035/pharmaceuticals-in-our-waterways


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Jill Jones

Jill Jones lives and works on unceded Kaurna land. Her latest book is Wild Curious Air, winner of the 2021 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. In 2015 she won the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Poetry for The Beautiful Anxiety. Her work is widely published in Australia, Canada, Ireland, NZ, Singapore, Sweden, UK, and USA and has been translated into a number of languages. She has worked as an academic, arts administrator, journalist, and book editor.

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