Professor Catherine Cole is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong. She has published novels and two non-fiction books. She is the editor of the anthology, The Perfume River: Writing from Vietnam and co-editor with McNeil and Karaminas of Fashion in Fiction: Text and Clothing in Literature, Film and Television, (Berg UK and USA, May 2009). She also has published poetry, short stories, essays and reviews.
from War Aphorisms
If you fuck in the fields on a summer night the moon will appear at midnight.
Such is the nature of elongated days that when at last you see a face in the enamelled sky you must remind yourself not to be afraid:
it is just the moon, veiled and bursting.
I stand on the edge of a field, on the edge of a trench full of poppies, runaway barley, weeds.
In the trench is all history since 1914.
Isn’t a trench a cruel thing?
Two hares box in the frosty field,
their hind legs turning hoare to crystals.
A halo of frost around their heads, ears long flat ribbons.
They disappear, white tails the last of them.
Sometimes a horse looms from the mist,
ghost or real, who can tell.
It’s hooves send clods flying.
I know horses.
I know mist.
I know soil.
What truth can be found in that trinity.
An old stone wall with eighteen bullet holes.
Probing fingers enter the wall.
If the souls of the dead need somewhere to go it surely must be holes filled with abandoned swallows’ nests.