Gouache, Sheep Skulls, Fence Bracket

By | 1 March 2017


Animals in Venetian masks
stare through floral constellations;
a strange surfacing
of herbal machinations
and cloven-hoof memories;
a fondness, somewhere
for droughtless green.

Look closer.
The skulls are singing,
more like bird-beaks than sheep.
Forget-me-nots break
across bone
as if souls commune,
call back,
jigsaw a collective self.


This is about a rasp of sheep;
a four-cornered star
shining the sacrament
of limited diagonals,
and yet, in sockets of dark,
a kind of backward birthing.

How to place gouache
and not annul the souls of sheep.
How to stamp passports
of those who dream the inner side
of crates—
a floating, rocking panic.

Their flowers are dispensed.
Ragged edges stumble
into blackened bone.
Quietly, they bleed
in palest pink.

In response to Steven Holland, Monaro, 2001 Gouache on sheep skulls,
on welded fencing wire bracket 40 x 40 x 15.0 cm at Canberra Museum.

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