by Claire Miranda Roberts
Stones move the creek
between flowerless fuchsia
correa the same black-
ened blue algae on granite--
until the water turns
clear and released from
Claire Miranda Roberts is an Australian poet who recently returned from studying overseas. Her work has previously appeared in Sentinel Literary Quarterly.
Template for Mourning
by Munira Tabassum Ahmed
Dear [ ],
You always told me to text you when I got home. I think you cared about me too much. Now,
there is nothing left. I do not know when grief ends, but it hasn't yet.
I’ll burn this letter once I finish writing, but for now, it exists. For now, we exist. While we do, I
wanted to tell you that [ ]. Not letting you
know is my only regret.
When you told me that you wanted to see the [ ], I laughed at you.
Tonight, I’m going. Tell me when you get there. I’ll text you when I get home.
I miss you, and I love/d you.
And there is too much more to say.
Munira Tabassum Ahmed is an emerging Bangladeshi-Australian writer and creative. Her work has been recognised by the Australian Poetry Slam, Australia ReMade, Sydney Writers' Festival, Voiceworks, The Lifted Brow, the UN Youth, the Sonora Review, and elsewhere.
Moreton Bay Fig
by Joshua Klarica
Two boys to swim, sun beat, chests like a white sheet
and that ancient, incorrigible guffaw. Dive, until
the water is taller than they are, pirouette and star,
chain link armour leaving their lips like a buoy
to surface. Sink in saltless swamp, the breath
in their lungs is confiscated by time.
He sits on the sedge-lined shore nestled in the basket,
and I ask for the umpteenth time, What is its name?
as his patient smile drains and accuses mine.
He grazes a finger against the sunlight, asks, That one?
Our pruned shells grip the sun. The roots go under and over us.
He knows I will forget again.
Hiding in the roots of the Morton Bay fig,
I did not know what it was called.
Chrysalis bloom; its evergreen sheen can only wear
one skin, and if I open my eyes now, I am
surely smothered by its overwhelming all around me.
Joshua Klarica is a writer originally from the south coast of NSW but living in Sydney's inner west, studying English literature and creative writing. They have had poetry published online for Queer@Kings and have a poem in the upcoming edition of London Library Magazine.
by Lenora Cole
curious grey tongue gentled
with husk-cracking satisfaction
smaller, gaudy lorikeets shriek
their caustic intimidation
unruly arrival, hunched and hissing
food-motivated to disrupt
the pecking order
still, one candle-coloured cockatoo
remains, stumped rear-toe sidles
and whiskered-visor streaky beak
slowly pinches the soft fat of my upper-arm
whirling cleverness in
wrinkled frame, insistent
for more seed
warm feathers press my skin
fan-layered like an infinity of lotus flowers
white as sun-bleached bone
Lenora Cole is an Australian poet. Her work has been published in print in Australian Poetry Anthology, The Tundish Review, Jacaranda, and Concrescence, and online in Umbel & Panicle, honey & lime, and Déraciné, and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. In 2019 she received the Emerging Author Award for the New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing.
by Jarrah L. Barton
Tell me, Iris,
Did you know we would
Meet like this?
I watched as the car pulled
Funny how things
Are blue in the dark
Without my glasses
I imagine your
As I watch you
From across the fire pit
The warm hues
Colliding with the blue
Of the night on your beautiful
I wish I knew
What to say.
I wish I had a new
For every time I wanted
To speak with you
I’m so blue.
Jarrah L. Barton is a Meanjin-based poet who has released two self-published zines of poetry. She is a queer transgender woman who also writes fantasy and sci-fi novels with queer and gender diverse characters.
by Robert Cook
flour, salt and
three drops of
bake in a lead pan
and leave at the door
of the afflicted
lick the pot’s lid
dry, then fast
till the border
in corpse flower
and blessed thistle
bury under ash,
harvest in snow,
serve with rice
I saw a toad at a crossroads
that had waited so long
for its mate or the rain or a lift
far away from here
it had emptied itself out,
flattened itself to the earth
so wholly that its carcass
shone like weathered tin
At the flyover’s juncture
was a dead brown hand
waving in synchronised grief
in a trio of mourners
three arms buried to the wrist
in stone, hands thrusting out
in admonition of fate,
the forced second glance
showing me ferns in algal concrete
that had dropped a tricolour banner
as the dead toad’s shroud,
tra, o, and ire decipherable
the orphan ferns singing
it to its reptilian underworld,
vegetal hands offering the path
to the toad’s amphibious soul
Robert Cook is originally from Kent in England, and now lives and works in Brisbane, Australia. He is a father of three, and has worked as a registered nurse since 1992. Now in his fifties, he is a definitely older, though of course not actually old, emerging poet.
by Jessie Jackson
These heavy waves are
Frothy doonas wrapped around our limbs
they sap us of our energy
Conduct their own which ebbs
a life force
In and out of us
leaves us spent and empty
I know the start of JAWS too well
The shrieks of joy from children sound like
precursors to me
Those gulls out on the bay
Dip through the wind for fish
Bring bigger things in below
that are unseen and yet anciently known.
Push out into the swell, always pushing
And the rip can’t be blamed for pulling
The life guards have gone home
The flags are now echoes of
Melted ice blocks, Calippos.
You throw your head back
A baptism in salt water I can never reach
Too concerned with blood and
The sand between my teeth.
Silver fishes, small as 50 cent pieces
flip in the shallows
We shriek at their light touches.
How the poncho you give me afterwards
Feels like burgundy tentacles suctioning to my hips
Of course we now have to eat chips
To gain back our grounding
in this salted place
As if to consume what almost consumes us
To end this churning ritual of death and rebirth.
Jessie Jackson is a writer working on Yugara and Turrbal land. Poetry haunts her sweetly every day, and she writes to give it voice.
Seeking words with sizzle, poetry that wraps us in burning ribbons and won't let go. Send us your best!