Twenty-four Catherines

I wonder if I could belong on a small island
with a wild side 40°S         this chaos of spume

bullying its way into natural-born fissures
between needles of basalt     cumulus making

its dark mischief        the ideal backdrop
for a tryst with a dangerous man, a gun, a killing

I would spend my remaining years gazing out
trying to spot the hull of a wrecked barque

blood-stained calico billowing into the inferno
thankful for dry land, a warm scarf and imagination

that place reserved in my cloudy memory where once
I did belong 55°N before I got restless and wandery

The Neva, carrying 200 women and children from Cork was shipwrecked off King Island, Tasmania, 1835

From my latest chapbook, Spirit.

White witch hitching

Had I owned     a primrose 2CV
/two steam horses     four wheels/   in ‘73

I would not have      climbed into a truck
with that ugly farmhand        /pas Anglais/

who took country lanes          peut-être
to pluck the courage        to attack

swerving back      on the freeway      to the ferry
I missed             by fifteen minuits

Picked up by a suit     instead
in a slick sedan         dinner en famille

in a room out of         a Maupassant story
/autocorrecting to motor song, milk thistle, Newcastle/

Sailing the bay            next day Le Havre
in a couta boat       out of van Gogh’s Saint Marie

How could I forget the canvas-ripping
speed of jeune men          I was Jeanne d’arc

Maid of Lorraine       /autocorrecting to
Dark Zen/            virgin soul intact

Back then              fearless           full of it
missing the flames        by an eyelash

First appeared in Shearsman, 2021.


Julie Maclean, Piffing Yonnies into the Post-Industrial












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