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Image by Tomas Williams


the madrigal, volume v


by r. smithrandal

In late, gold, full surrender of afternoon’s long fall
to ancient smells and palettes, the bedding of bird tribes
and the sky dusk-lidded, bruisable, memoried darkening,
on time’s acquiescent beach, by relentless tease
the limpid sea’s short edgy waves breach the ramparts
and through its cold wet tide lips is the sandcastle eaten.


Faced with eroded absolutes the sentient child
stands burnt sentinel, sand liquefied entraps their feet,
salt-smited eyes stare wide into the primeval swell.
Phylogenetic sympathies, smell-couriered,
freeze at black cords awash in oceanic water creeping
in soft rhythmic plashes from the now behind them land.
Where stood play turrets, battlements, flagged with shells,
thigh deep in dark they cannot see, even their hand.

R.Smithrandal (she/her) is a Sydney-based writer engaged with both formal and experimental poetry. Her work has been published in Boxkite: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics (under Ruby Ishinjerro), and Sandgropers: A Western Australian Anthology, and was highly commended in the Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize 2019, and longlisted for the Peter Carey Prize 2019. She received her BA (Hons) in Classical Chinese Literature, and has a fascination with languages and horticulture.

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