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Still Life

Our home is in need of repairs
we can no longer afford.
Perched atop a slippery slope
on the outskirts of town,
we watch the sun plunge
westwards over muddy fields,
while to the east we hear only
the motorway’s ceaseless hum.
Beyond the concrete barriers
an unquiet city lies,
its restlessness delineated
by hypnotically undulating rivers
of red and yellow light.

Tonight a super blood moon will rise
across East Asia, where journalists
have gone to further investigate
wet markets and leaking labs.
In the wake of unnatural disasters,
we read The New York Times online,
understanding nothing.
A chatbot pops up to teach us
how to change people’s minds,
but we decide this evening
it better perhaps to influence
socially only ourselves.

A bowl of apples upon the table.
A pile of books upon the night stand.
I am refueling in preparation
for the next emergency.
Church spires have been replaced
by mobile phone towers, and
we no longer appreciate
the strangeness of modern life.
The right has learned to love relativism.
The left has learned to love power.
What do we owe to those
less fortunate than ourselves?

When I was young, the stars blazed
like fire strung aloft in the vast
blue-black canopy of night.
Tonight these self-same stars to me
seem faded, less numerous. I am afraid
the time is coming soon when I look
aloft only to discover an empty sky,
altogether devoid of light.




Born in 1975, Warwick Shapcott currently lives in Bendigo, a small, regional city in Victoria, Australia. A former high-school English teacher, Warwick now works providing in-home behavioural support to the families of children with autism. He does most of his writing before dawn in hotels and motels scattered across Victoria.

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