J V Birch
It wasn’t the cancer that stilled me, 
how it sunk its teeth into my breast like a devil child, 

stripped me of the trappings of woman
and gave me pain-soaked nights, 

small daily tortures, a definitive absence of being. 
It was a rescue cat, her tidy need for patience, 

her long slow blinks and the clean pink of her mouth, 
the tortoiseshell circle of her on my lap, 

the steady rumble of her, 
how she makes me see everything matters 

and nothing at all.

J V Birch is a British-born Australian poet living on Kaurna land in Adelaide. Her poems have been anthologised, exhibited and published in Australia, the UK, Canada and the US, appearing in Australian Love Poems, the Hunter Writers Centre Grieve Anthology, Red Room Poetry’s Writing Water, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Australian Poetry Journal, Plumwood Mountain, StylusLit, Magma, Cordite, SurVision and Mslexia. She has four chapbooks with Ginninderra Press and a full-length collection, more than here. Her next collection, ice cream ‘n’ tar, is forthcoming from SurVision Books.



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