Two Poems by Laura Sobbott Ross

Stoned Wallabies Blamed for Australian Crop Circles

News Headline     Poppy Fields of Tasmania

When the joey’s jaw had grown
enough to unclench
from his mother’s swollen teat,
he would find a thread of light
in his furred room—

a womb with walls too thin
to hold back the westerly winds
whipping off the buttongrass moors,
or the distant scent of eucalyptus,
whitecaps and wild peppermint.

And when he nosed his way out
one night, it was not hunger
he felt, but petals in a field.
As if he could define a field
as this voluminous plane
teeming with stalks and stars,
so much red, so much silent
plundering. His own veins

lit in a raucous cradlesong
of seedpods oozing moon milk.
The mob tamping
the sweet, tangled poppies
into circles so succinct
it would puzzle the farmers
as to what was spelled out there
in ecstatic reiterations to the sky.


In Bora Bora, the natives
bury their dead in the front yard.
The bones of grandfathers,

stillborn babies, and reckless uncles
lost to petal slicked inclines,
all locked in crypts laid out

like stepping stones between
vines of vanilla, and children
knee deep in rain puddles.

We took postcard photos
from inside our jeep of tourists,
grinding upward past hibiscus

and nodding palms,
coconut pearling inside shells.
Our French guide plucked starfruit

then hacked it thinly with his machete.
Below, blue oceans kneaded with light.
We stood like gods on the summit,

eating stars at the soft edge of cloud,
pondering the wayward
migrations of the living and the dead.

About the author

Laura Sobbott Ross was born in Mississippi by way of Venezuela. She lives on a peninsula, but loves islands, including St. Lucia, Grenada, and…

Read the full bio

Issue 13 · September 2011

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