the countless trips, dripping ichor
barefoot across wet grass
to drop carrot heads and half a rotten watermelon
into the black basin
will be rewarded by sweet compost lying there;
by detritus, beautiful decay, and pseudo soil
alchemizing if you just add a little water;
by the black heat of a raised lid;
by the unexpected sweetness marking
bounty and fertility, arising
as you twist an occasional pitchfork.
For just beneath this surface lies
the desiccated twigs, and the chaos
of a tumble of zucchini vines, hacked and fruitless,
and plantain shoots, impossible to kill
and grass and weeds, jagged,
disproportionate, heaped at speed,
and no sweet earth.
Just clumps of dried leaves
boiling with cockroaches.
Roger Patulny lives in Sydney and is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Wollongong, where he has a research focus on social interaction, personal and urban issues. He runs two Sydney writing groups, and writes contemporary social, historical, and futurist-inspired poetry and prose fiction. He has been published in the Sydney- and Melbourne-based The Suburban Review, Cordite, the UK magazine Dwell Time on COVID-themed poems, and in other print and online publications, links to which, along with those to his writing groups, can be found here.