Poem whose semiotics of arrival




in Bogan Town make a perfect

O-shaped hair doughnut peeling

off the scream with an interior


brush inside four windowless walls

(narrow-doored servant quarters)

in which I nurse a pair of llamas


with long-lashed eyes whom I met

as dolphins when I leapt from the dock

into their dreams, braving the dirty


foam-wracked waves without volition

as they swam into me to sup

as llamas on human milk


their sorrow part of whatever they sought,

still dolphins at heart, shapeshifters

who had foreseen beyond this dream


the draining of their sea. Fully awake

then for my first day of work in polo

shirt and tights, I am met


by a man beside my car

whipping a tree with his belt,

his visage a violent stew—


and I burn my fingers getting into

the car as his voice lays into two

small daughters on the curb in mini-


school skirts and bows, struck

to the quick that they must follow

this shout, who marches off


without looking behind him,

a pulse of hot concrete forcefully

threading his belt back in.






previously published

Best of Australian Poems 2021, Guest Editors Ellen Van Neerven & Toby Fitch, p. 169.

(This poem also received second prize in the 2021 MPU Annual International Poetry Competition).

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