Toad in the garden, which is the same as
a snake in Eden or a crack in a mirror.
Inexpungable blot of evil but
we must try. The castle must be defended
and each can be the mother of an empire,
a pullulating and teeming pathogenesis
threatening to gush out of the gaping mouth
of nightmare, cover the world, flatten the lettuces.
When we were young enough for casual violence
we’d roam through the plush veil of darkness
just beyond the moth-blow floodlights with
cut down golf-clubs and feeble torches, stumbling
and giggling, night-blind and sugar crazy, until
we’d echo-locate the resolute density of a toad.
Wild invisible arcs and that satisfying thump
of bodies. Changeling stones, staring us down.
There was a black plague creeping southward
and Queensland was lost, untouchable and alien,
the language of genocide, not that we knew it then,
the protection of feral snowy river brumbies
for the nostalgia of a poem was years away.
Dot to dot brown spatter of the enemy
laid out on wet season roads and our challenge
was efficient returns, swerving the 4WD in slime.
Inexhaustible armies of malevolence,
but now I can’t decide on measures of
humanity: cold frozen euthanasia over the
gassing eternity of asphyxia. We sling
her kicking and indomitable into her own hell,
the bag crackling in the wheelie bin and for hours
her scissoring legs thump out someone’s punishment
until ants climb the lid, not offering rescue.
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