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Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

BooksOctober 14, 2022

The Friday Poem: ‘Cry Me A Bushfire’ by Harriet Salmon

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

A new poem by Harriet Salmon.

Cry Me a Bushfire

That morning we opened our curtains to an orange sky. It was

our neighbors, half burning alive.

we said,

how horrifying

and dragged on disposable vapes, puff the magic dragoning into a bisected awareness,

eating ourselves full –

bluefin, quail, tasmanian tiger

we said,

how awful, sky in a blender,

and then drove up the road to get a better view of the saddleback hills, red

like the sepia haze on kansas

clicked our heels three times, went home

leaving only a quarter tonne of CO2 in our wake

and putting on coats of asbestos



tropical fruit

while the parents snub it at a jazz festival,

the reflection of the sky on the water the same blush of their aperol spritzers

So we all sit around to watch cowspiracy and eat mince,

we all sit on our fine asses in garters made of six-pack-rings.

we sit and whine about maccas only stocking oat, almond & soy

when we much prefer coconut and

we menthol aerosol slap it all on from the tube before leaving the house.

You gotta take off the reimagined nightwear and put on the PPE

see the marmalade stratocumulus like a cancerous cough of hades, do your readings and

        eat your jerky and

             never wash your paints down the sink.

The sky is salmony

this cloud the sour of coral

and this coral a bedsheet of cloud

these oceans the green of pacific forest and this pacific forest swallowed

by cobalt surges up the shoreline, swallowing our neighbors and then landing

right onto our doorstep, like the rat the dog brings home –

it’s already taking us fleshy as we are, irretrievably munted, we’ve ransacked

every grotty heavenly surface, it’s swamped and it’s juiceless

and it’s a thawing armpit of idiots and jet skis and inevitable death so for god’s sake

it’s now or never baby, come hold me freaking tight,

the sky is lighting up

and our neighbours are burning alive.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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