The Stages of Decomposition

Shelby Lee

For a week, we side-step that dead warbler, rotting

belly-up on the footpath. I assumed they’d, for dignity,

dispose of it, or at least clear the way. Instead, I’m left blessing

ants, who do what we refuse.


On the last bus home, you spat

theories, how everything looks better after

rain. I could never mock your Frankenstein

Creature eyes, which find greenery richest in

fog. Tell me again how storms scatter headlights

like bitumen solar systems. How to stand

in the rain as my wine-stained dress dilutes

from purple, to pink, to flesh.


You’re compelling. But you forgot that little dead

bird, whose feathers once capable of flight fell

apart after downpour. It’s now a high school

science project: The Stages of



I know what’s troubling you, but the sea

changed again last night and a set of pearl

eyes washed ashore, down by the docks

where the burnouts smoke. Sure, it’s unsettling to see

a loveless corpse. But I’m certain when your body is soaked

through they’ll only have the loveliest things to say.

Author: Shelby Lee is part writer part tea drinker and is currently studying creative writing. Her writing is inspired by a bizarre love of both Absurdism and Romanticism, which means it’s often cynical just never about sunsets. She is driven by the eternal struggle to get the better of words.

Artist: Steph Blinco is a third year Bachelor of Fine Arts student. A local Brisbane emerging artist, her practice makes statements about everyday life through collaged imagery. Intertwining psychedelic patterns to create collisions of colour and era, Steph draws influences from autobiographical contexts, ranging from her childhood to her experiences now as a young adult. You can find her on Instagram @stephblincoart.