Writing Place 2020

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Code Cracker

By Anna Jacobson


When the forest calls, she makes friends
with trees. Decodes the language
of the scribbly gum in half an hour.
She is taken away, trees’ voices
muffled through hospital balcony bars.

After six weeks she can no longer
hear them. No longer remembers
the secret language she’d learned
from the scribbly gum moth.
When doctors show her a picture
of bark she cannot decipher,
they let her go.


‘Our lemon tree is fruiting.
We have too many.’
I thank her, peer inside; four
lemons the size of grapefruit.

My mother bakes fish with lemon and dill.
I make a lemon tart sans short-crust base.
We leave a communal lemon in the fridge
for cups of tea: lemon and honey, lemon
and ginger, lemon and mint.

The last lemon waits in the fruit bowl
to become zest, sliced into quarters,
squeezed, or preserved. Instead I sit
at the table with ink and paper,
draw it whole. I draw until it becomes
something Other. I draw its talk. Stippled
as a weathered ear, it listens to my
pen on paper, bushels me its story.
From the lemon I draw the tree. From
the tree I draw the sky. From the sky I draw
the scribbly gum moth– tree disappears
into earth. Sharp pieces of sky bury
back into skin, scribbly gum moth nestles
within mind.

About Anna Jacobson

Anna Jacobson is a writer and artist from Brisbane. *Amnesia Findings* (UQP, 2019) is her first full-length poetry collection, which won the 2018 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. Anna’s poetry chapbook *The Last Postman* (Vagabond Press, 2018) is part of the deciBels 3 series. Her website is www.annajacobson.com.au.


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