by Benjamin Dodds
No one sees
me draw it from
my pocket, hide
it in a hand, raise and place
the secret weight inside my
mouth to tongue its imperfect
sphere. No one knows
I taste whispered grit
and dust from yesterday’s
island all over the lopsided marble
found and freed from white
holiday sand. No one hears
it roll and clack against the backs
of my teeth though I dare them
as I sip unlimited premium
cocktails and bend
cruise talk around it.
No one is here
on the salt-greased
deck when I spit
its glass globe from
my lips to rest between
ridges of hollowed palm
from the steady giant
a day from nearest land
-scrap. No one sees
the parabola that can’t be
ungraphed as it pierces
night time Pacific
as it falls
for how long?
Benjamin Dodds is a Sydney-based poet. His work has appeared in journals, anthologies and newspapers, and been broadcast on ABC RN. He is a poetry reader for Overland. Benjamin is the author of Airplane Baby Banana Blanket (Recent Work Press, 2020) and Regulator (Puncher & Wattmann Poetry, 2014).
by Jane Frank
When I first saw your spaceship far off, heading for home …
Today you are going fishing--
you wear a bucket hat
your practical hands preparing hooks and lures
lines and bait
in feathery courtyard shade
seal dog at your feet
I remember our first meeting
light through blinds striping my face
your reassuring message
transmitted in monochrome
through dark salt waves
You will sit on the old wooden pier today
or on rocks around the point
out of sight
silver haze past the horizon
moving in your eyes
the liquid almost-silence a fuel you inhale
oblivious to time
six months later you lay in a cave of flowers--
ventura purple lisianthus
and sunflowers — the midwives
remarking that you felt no pain
no need to break the calm
early morning hours with crying
You’ll throw the catch back--
the summer whiting or yellow brim—
laugh at the thought of the fish
you caught swimming into a second life
just as you’ve swum
back home to me
pulling to me on calm thermals.
A land of crescents:
dogs and waves and salt-
The wind is loud but it’s quiet inside my head
now the hard words are leaving,
the last ones
rattling like clinkers in a glass jar.
I want to learn
a new language of crossover,
the way these bodies write on the sea,
letting the elements
in balance with the brightly coloured kites
dipping gently in the sky,
of low tide where there is no one to disappoint,
only small reliable waves –
three even rows of them –
the island a washed-up rag
on the horizon,
the crabs dancing near my feet.
Jane Frank’s latest chapbook is WIDE RIVER (Calanthe Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared most recently in Antipodes, Burrow, Other Terrain, Backstory, Takahe, Not Very Quiet, The Bengaluru Review, Meridian (APWT/Drunken Boat, 2020) and Grieve vol 8 (Hunter Writers Centre, 2020). Her unpublished manuscript Wolf Moon was shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize in 2020 and she was joint winner of the Queensland Poetry Festival Philip Bacon Ekphrasis Award in 2019. Jane teaches in creative writing at Griffith University. Read more of her work at https://www.facebook.com/JaneFrankPoet/ and https://janefrankpoetry.wordpress.com/
by Michael J. Leach and Rachel Rayner
A summer smog clouds
warm air, enshrouding landmarks.
Fog lights brighten streets.
Particles are so dark
they redden the Sun’s precise glare
on cracked concrete paths
walked by breathers of smoke
blown in from the bush,
from the disintegrating
leaves and the combusting bark.
of hot colours roar, feeding
on families and homes
that spark and collapse into
a void, scorched with loss.
Winged seeds rise
from within flaming gum trees
to fly through thick air
and soon land on damp soils
where life grows, greening, skyward.
Michael J. Leach is an emerging poet and academic at Monash University School of Rural Health. Michael’s poems have appeared in Cordite, Rabbit, Meniscus, Haiku Journal, Jalmurra, Plumwood Mountain, and elsewhere, including his chapbook Chronicity (Melbourne Poets Union, 2020). He lives on unceded Dja Dja Wurrung country in Bendigo, Victoria.
Rachel Rayner is a science communicator who has shared a love of science and language with audiences all over the world, presenting science poetry at the South African National Arts Festival and the Australian Science Communicators Conference. Rachel has had her own and co-authored poems published in various online journals.
by Melanie Hobbs
grey houses huddle together in winding loops
scant bottlebrush trees wave feebly in the light breeze
providing no relief from the glare of the February sun
on the too-white pavement.
inside the place a dusty Christmas tree looms over the body.
male. seventies. full head of hair.
his blue checked shirt unbuttoned, no doubt by the ambos
now consoling his wife,
exposing a blood-spattered hairy chest and throat.
no wound though.
most likely some sort of aneurysm.
poison also a possibility.
Melanie Hobbs is a writer of Malaysian-Indian descent. She lives in Perth, Western Australia, with her husband, two-year-old daughter and dog, along with another baby on the way. Melanie worked as a high school English teacher for ten years and is currently a full-time parent.
by Ivy Mullins
i see you at the top
of the pink hotel
and you are
almost mine again
i can almost see my tiny hands
slip around the base
of your neck;
it is almost winter,
but in the summer
we both took turns drowning
in the reservoir
you were always the better swimmer
there were no surprises that you
all bright-eyed and broad-shouldered.
there were no surprises when
i sunk to the bottom
my hair tangled among the sea bed
i used to think that things
happened for a reason
now i know they don’t
because you are at the top
of the pink hotel
and i am only almost.
Ivy Mullins is a Brisbane-based journalist who started writing poetry as a distraction from her cripplingly monotonous law degree. Her work has been previously published in Concrescence, The Tundish Review, Junkee, PASTEL Magazine, Veronica Lit Mag, and Ibis Zine.
by Sam Morley
The steering is slack until you crank
the gurgling outboard motor.
We push past the last buoy
and I find myself standing.
Over open water, air circles
the blackness underneath.
I pull my children closer.
Cormorants dive, find nothing
and rise as oily shadows up a wall.
I cut the engine and we slide
slowly on the skin of the lake –
chiaroscuro in a graphite field.
Water mounds, then wears away.
The children scuttle and chiack.
I feel something slick, a vague
threat closing, a regret I can’t repair.
On the expanding cross-hatch of lead
I watch an accumulation of shapes
contours of nothing that do not remain
long enough to define themselves.
Sam Morley is a Melbourne based poet and secondary school teacher. His work has been published by Cordite, Red Room Poetry, The Hunter Writer's Centre and shortlisted in the ACU Poetry Prize 2020.
Seeking words with sizzle, poetry that wraps us in burning ribbons and won't let go. Send us your best!