There’s a purple-flowered, climbing weed somewhere in my yard at all times. We call it the ‘alien vine’ for its powerful and persistent occupation of our space, and its otherworldly ability to wind its way through walls, under the deck, up through the roof, or into the windows of the shed. Earlier this year, it twirled its way around cables towards the power pole that feeds our house. I’m not sure what it was after up there, but it unsettled me. My husband climbed into the roof cavity and found it lurking in the dark.

            As settlers ourselves, we’re aware of this vine’s unconscious symbolism. We are no more native to this Awabakal land than it, and represent an ever more destructive invasion.

            The weed as colonial force plays a powerful role in #27: WEEDS, and underpins a journey through this theme that, surprisingly, turned up very little content about our friend Mary Jane. The stunning cover by lace artist Maggie Hensel-Brown hints at the delicate and intricate ways our writers and artists have engaged with the weedy things of the world.

            We’ve opened this issue with a wonderful introduction to place and nature observation by Bastian Fox Phelan, exploring a section of suburban reserve on Awabakal country through postcolonial and maternal eyes (and we congratulate Bastian on the successful growth of their child).

            Sam Morley then delivers ‘Gorse’, a poetic recitation from the ‘zombie-mouthed mass’ of the weed, and Sofia Sabbagh’s comic shares the ways that culture and family intertwine with the foraging of edible weeds in ‘Mlokheyye’.

            In ‘Mother versus Mother’, Shubhangi Singh shares a powerful work of fiction that challenges pressured motherhood, with truly skin-pricking scenes of undesired sexual encounters and miscarriage. I could not go past this work when it hit our submissions inbox and feel privileged to publish it here in this issue.

            Desire, death, and indecision are wrangled by Jennifer Nguyen into ‘Simulalation Suite’, an energy-filled series of prose poems on characters from The Witcher, the simulated farmer’s life of Stardew Valley, and tarot readings.

            Kay Thom Nguyen’s peaceful digital illustration introduces us to the enigmatic and uncanny fiction piece ‘Double Load Wednesdays by Theresa Tully—touching on themes of family and loss while retaining a sense of curiosity and magic.

            You’ll also find two poems from Tim Loveday, ‘cocky cuntz’ and ‘council chambers’, which set fire to the ‘unsanctimonious shit-factories’ of modern society with stunning energy, and a refreshing one-page comic from Clea Chiller, ‘Overgrowth’, showing a delightful battle between the force of the fussy gardener and the vengeful weed.

            Rob Johnson’s brash narrator takes us through a story that makes this battle personal in ‘View Vigilance’, and ultimately allies humans and weeds with a sense of belonging.

            We finish with a mindful and entrancing piece of non-fiction by Emma Yearwood, which explores the ‘pressing matters’ of framing, collecting, and documenting, and leaves us with a reminder to ‘think in stillness, stay fixed to a point, to rest’. When constantly feeling pressured to push through burnout and grow into unfamiliar (and often undesired) new territory, this simple suggestion couldn’t feel more timely.

CLAIRE ALBRECHT
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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