You want to know
why I culled you
like a cane toad,
or a kangaroo?
You were so reckless
with your red soldiers,
so couldn’t care less
little letters’ could possibly infect me.
Of all people, you, you, you
— the recovering junkie —
were so quick to pass judgment;
The nine-inch nail in the coffin:
my unconditional love
with a Judas kiss
(I would’ve accepted libation or fate).
I never tend your watery grave.
In 2009, Stuart Barnes’ unpublished memoir A Cold Decade — surviving rape, drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness — was shortlisted for the Australian Olvar Wood Fellowship Award, and his poem ‘Solomon’ was shortlisted for Australia’s most prestigious poetry prize, the Newcastle. He lives and writes in Melbourne.