2 poems by Amanda McLeod

ENDLING. (N). THE LAST SURVIVING INDIVIDUAL OF A SPECIES

So many firsts can also be lasts –

dance, words, breath…

But where is the tragedy in this?

Firsts in white coats, sterile in many ways 

as the maze of clones and cures 

unspools, helix by helix. Complacency spreads 

dark roots in jars of formaldehyde 

and freezers full of body parts become 

the domain of a different sort of murderer. 

The fallen lie charred in war-torn forests, wrapped 

in wire along escape routes that lead only 

to a fresher hell. Shoulders shrug 

light beneath the weight of it doesn’t matter 

and immortality is no longer 

thought the domain of gods. And all the while 

the endlings die 

from a lack of belief in their existence.

I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT CHANGE BUT THE WORDS WON’T COME

They stick in my throat like promises I know I’ll break. There is a waterfall behind the dam of my teeth and I swell to bursting with everything left unsaid. You don’t call me anymore; stilted conversation stopped being your style in the winter of ‘04, when radiator fluid peeled the layer of skin off me that held my tongue. I’ve come a long way since I stopped keeping those secrets. You still clutch them to your chest in the belief that you can will them into non-existence, consign that part of your life to the void. In the parking lot, I put the Beach Boys on high rotation and bury the last box of heartbreak underneath a dumpster lid. On the road out I watch the jagged skyline recede like worn-down teeth. That town and I have a complicated history; we’re like a plastic hula dancer on the dash of a ‘67 Chevy, both refusing to believe that the best years are behind us.

Amanda McLeod, Animal Behaviour

Amanda McLeod is a Canberra-based writer and artist. Her debut flash fiction, Animal Behaviour (Chaffinch Press, 2020), will be launched later this year, and her poetry is published widely including in Not Very Quiet, Thorn Literary Magazine and Setu Magazine. Peek into her creative mind at amandamcleodwrites.com

About the contributor

Amanda McLeod is a Canberra-based writer and artist. Her debut flash fiction, Animal Behaviour (Chaffinch Press, 2020), will be launched later this year, and her poetry is published widely including in Not Very Quiet, Thorn Literary Magazine and Setu Magazine. Peek into her creative mind at amandamcleodwrites.com

Related Articles

Systematics and other Poems- Gary Glauber

Gary Glauber is a widely published poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist.

Brian Rihlmann

Brian Rihlmann is published in Constellate Magazine, Poppy Road Review, The Rye Whiskey and others

1 poem by Dan Kaufman

Some poems are simply irresistible, and this pithy, bittersweet work by Melbourne-based writer and journalist Dan Kaufman is one of them!

1 COMMENT

More Like This

Two Poems by Alicia Sometimes

If ‘the poetry of science’ sounds like a contradiction in terms, immerse yourself in these works by Alicia Sometimes, in whose hands scientific discovery, amongst other things, becomes an apt subject for poetry.

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon- Poetry

BREAKWATER                Dusted by sand, fanned by spring breezes, she lies in her shingle bed. She and her lover, dreamed through yesterday: held real life...

A Man Tries To Get Back In. Poetry by Warren Paul Glover

HONESTLY? I mean what I say. Look! Hand on heart.  Am I not a man of integrity? Do I not have a kindly...

Interval in late June

Andrea Potos is the author of nine poetry collections

Damn Catholics and other poems – Peter Mitchell

DAMN CATHOLICS In a small town moment, I and a neighbour's boy play rapture: a cosy front yard, marbles clink the...