Sabbatical


BY RAE WHITE

 

We stockpile supplies at our meager campsite:
pears, preserves, snapper. We craft lattice
walls and lace them to brittle hedges. I tell you
it’s to stall the new winds from the Hollow
but really, it’s for our protection.

Soon, the peaches are slush and attract
purring fruit flies. We eat them in a sweet
stew with fruit beetles and ground butterfly
wings to taste.

You tell me: last night I heard the intimacy of a
mouth, its slick and swallow, just outside
the walls.
I tell you the village has already
fallen. Yet, I’m unsettled.

Next night, I head to shore
with my fishing rod and boning knife.
I should tell you when I leave camp
but I get a seductive thrill from wandering
on my own at midnight.

I perch on the rotting pier
and cast out. The salt-shaken breeze
shudders my spine. I look over my shoulder
more than once.

Hours pass before I feel a tug. As I reel
her in, I contemplate the lost days of breakneck
fishing and enough mackerel to feed
us for weeks.

I slop the catch at my feet. Moonlight
blotches putrid remains: clumps of purple
fur clinging to pitted flesh. She’s not good
for eating. I use the toe of my pumps to nudge
the cat back with a slosh.






Poet's note: This is an apocalyptic response poem to the game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.

 
 

About the author

Rae White is a non-binary poet, writer and zinester living in Brisbane. Their manuscript Milk Teeth won the 2017 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and will be published by the University of Queensland Press in 2018. Rae’s poem ‘what even r u?’ placed second in the 2017 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize. 

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