Robbie Coburn

Robbie Coburn was born in Melbourne and grew up on his family’s farm in Woodstock, Victoria. His poems have been published in various journals and magazines including Poetry, Cordite, The Canberra Times, Overland and Going Down Swinging, and his poems have been anthologized. His first collection, ‘Rain Season’, was published in 2013 and a second collection titled The Other Flesh is forthcoming. He lives in


The Nurse

I often ask for the ending.
blood-soaked white sheets you wake to each night
beneath their betrayed minds abandoned to your care.
I am sorry the body does not decide when.
and that you see me in the hollowed faces and knife-dreams.
not in your duty, all empathy soon becoming misery —
late one night you called through our silence,
a strange voice that spoke as if crying.
your mother was in another town asleep,
your father away at war, further from you than hours could say.
all distance finds loneliness in time.
I often ask for the ending.
no way to reassemble this.
no handbook or tested process written into your tongue.
only this strange voice I still hear
the night shift dragging to dawn
the mercy you breathe.


The Colt’s Grave

I stand at the paddock’s edge
the colt’s grave still visible
where dad has heaped wet dirt.

the ill and lanky body had fallen
several paddocks away, clean wind across the property
drying blood caked to his flanks.

a heartbeat ticking
through the electric fence
that formed a barricade around his small corpse

my father looking on
beyond my interminable confusion
inside my body, something changing

some future trying to enter the landscape.
I walk across the dilapidated horse track
waiting for the rain again.

from the weatherboard house
my breath is carried,
the unmistakable sound of crying.