ten years old

Three poems By Brent Cantwell

until I’m rhythm in this mud,

until my knees are kicked-dirt dry

and grey, and the fence is a thud

and a ball feathers the sky,

until my charge of cheap thunder

is silkiness unstoppable,

there’ll be no place to stand under

where I can feel clean water fall


This morning - from the cool palm

of a cabbage tree

to the bare branch of our garden’s

weeping willow -

a spider, with a plum-ripe abdomen,

makes its way

on self-shat silk

sticky with intent

defying gravity and distraction,

swimming space

in joyful Atlantic-ordeal,

imprisoned in New-World dream

of freedom,

leaf and bark

and flying sacks of nutrition,

not ever arriving

because arriving is to know

the breath

of your own weight

and what it is to fly


to serve a life sentence

you know must eventually end.

anyway, Seville

streets’ll siesta 

straight forward oranges’ll

happily collapse from umbilical noose



forget their muzzles 

and learn to live with iron wrought

in the forge of some ascension.

So why - locked-in and sad -

won’t normal life let us be? 

hung meats don’t matter 

and later everyone’ll  

laughs themselves leather anyway

Brent Cantwell is a New Zealand writer from Timaru, South Canterbury, who lives with his family in the hinterland of Queensland, Australia. He teaches high school English and has been writing for pleasure for 23 years. He has recently been published in Sweet Mammalian, Turbine/ Kapohau, Cordite, Brief, Blackmail Press, Landfall, Foam: e and Takahe.