Poem in rotating spheres




serving tray
trimmed in cane
with laminated roses
on which, as a baby
I sat
dimpled melon head
on delicate neck
whatever happened
to that tray
or that fragrant baby
I cradle now
in my forty-sixth lap
my alien
daughter’s rage
the ruffled lace
my mother’s
back by the stove
turning round
to hold me

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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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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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