Poem on being out of line




It happened in a city whose sardine terraces

press against               in utmost modesty

in cramped contrast

through a glass case     : :      sky pivots    : :


The base of Pot with Pink Stripes is a

black neck                   perfectly balanced against

but skewed asymmetrically to the left

though it depends on the angle of looking.

The pastel stripes strip

varying widths as if

applied slowly over the white


with a flat brush when once upon

this lopsided pot was turning.

I am reminded of my egg in its cup in the morning.

I am reminded of the moon, three days after,

hung like a spark box over the pylon,

the rippled tin roof of your shed. Does it matter

if I tell you                              the base of the pot


is you and I standing stunned at the sink

at midnight                  a yellow square rushes backwards

Who is to say that the literal light,


moving from room to room, was just another ordinary Tuesday?

Sexist language was levelled against—

I am still untangling the laundry.

                        What Australian housewives need to understand …


 but Angela Brennan, Australian born, 1960, whose

Pot with Pink Stripes spins in its glass box

does not hold you. You walk on, pulling at my sleeve.


In another room, a nude figure sun-

bakes in king tidal splendour on a rooftop terrace in Italy.

Here, the scumbled light on earthen walls is pastel, pearl

and brickwork. Looming above, in the complicated grey,

red in its mesh and verticals, the concave dish

of a radio receptor spirals a juggernaut stair.

How the red steps chime with the slats

in lilac, shut turquoise, methane. Ovoids

eerie the tops of the walls. Scarlet


geraniums wink against a jet-black interior.

Through which I enter the moon.



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