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July 30, 2010

by Stuart Barnes

You want to know
why I culled you
like a cane toad,
a rabbit
or a kangaroo?

You were so reckless
with your red soldiers,
so couldn’t care less
your ‘three
little letters’ could possibly infect me.

Of all people, you, you, you
— the recovering junkie —
were so quick to pass judgment;
my drinking

The nine-inch nail in the coffin:
you dismissed
my unconditional love
with a Judas kiss
(I would’ve accepted libation or fate).

I never tend your watery grave.

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In 2009, Stuart Barnes’ unpublished memoir A Cold Decade — surviving rape, drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness — was shortlisted for the Australian Olvar Wood Fellowship Award, and his poem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.

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