by Courtney Rae
i could note the itch of the grey loveseat,
or the sweat cooling at my hairline,
but i know he wants the roots
- no fine blooms
and okayed blossoms -
but i am barren
in escape of why
- moonlight marbled on tides,
a lighthouse dull, deadened -
i cannot reach the raft
with my hand rigid,
hugging the sun-faded pail,
emptying water as i sink
he hopes for fertile soil, i’m sure
but all i am is salt
Courtney (she/her) is a Gold Coast-based lesbian student, poet, and token spinster aunt. Poetry for her is a stable escape and way of expressing emotional mouthfuls, offering an opportunity to experiment with feelings and the senses. She is also keenly interested in political science and international relations - you can find her on Twitter and Instagram @courtsmccauls.
by Josie/Jocelyn Deane
after Toby Fox
You use various pronouns to observe
if it changes. What leaps forward wholly
formed from your face. You, still
as you recognise/have been
recognised as, if only from sharing
the room together, so long, the prick
of the spindle of your eye, a realistic
shade on the wall, disappearing with your
gaze— your body’s
passport stamps: your voice suddenly
English, blessedly not, your surprising
waist and then, on cue, ingrown chest hair as
you shave it. Signifiers you can ignore
in aggregate. You, still
as you have hoped, behind the curtain,
disappearing like a fox in the underbrush and
thicket of you, still as you recognise
like a birdcall in late winter, the filaments
of green, thrumming
just below the surface, still as you
Josie/Jocelyn Deane is a writer/student at the university of Melbourne. Their work has appeared in Cordite, Southerly, Australian Poetry and Overland, among others. They were one of the recipients of the 2013 457 visa poetry/ shortlisted for the 2015 Marsden and Hachette prize for poetry. They live on unceded Wurundjeri land.
by Amanda Thomas
Sifts summer. Wisps its humid shorn shrill.
This Double Drummer presses eardrum
in syrup earth. Purrs jazz on burr.
Susurration of legs in slippers thistle. Sighs lush
its shirringface lace. Lisps shorn, shivers glisten,
showerfern a slur slush missive.
Slays black bark instead of dark.
Simpers dusk. A species special. Our yard strums
It quit diction at six.
Stars this on fence. Sugars this on grass.
Amanda Thomas is a poet, fantasy writer, and book blogger. She studies Creative Writing at QUT and works as a library assistant. She is currently acting as Marketing Assistant for the Queensland Poetry Festival. Penning poetry is her attempt to make words sing. You can read more of her poetry on Instagram @amandathepoetess.
by Craig Slater
The Farmer's Lesson
When I refused
for instance, frowning
stubbornly up at his patient lesson,
he’d pluck snails from the garden
and throw them over the high fence.
I remember crying and running to the house,
not wanting to hear them shatter as they landed.
Even then, convinced more by
eggshells striped like ancient, faded tigers,
than the hidden magic of sullen
vegetables that struggled to grow,
scatter-shot with holes
for some reason.
For Richard Again
I think of your
hands moving like
for a place
Long boned and
fragile, as if
crashed kites children
failed to fly.
The same resigned
sadness as they gesture at
the gathering clouds.
Craig hails from New Zealand and currently peddles books in Sydney instead of hugging West Coast Trees. Years ago, some fool opened his mind with a copy of Trout Fishing in America, and he hasn't been able to close it again, no matter home many poems he scribbles down. Mayonaise.
by Zenobia Frost
too tough to approach
in its leather jacket
the moment before
her whole hand
a fresh thumb-tack
pins up your future
on a mouthful of words
I’ll show you my good side
god runs solar
all her futures
Zenobia Frost is a poet from Brisbane whose latest collection, After the Demolition, unpacks the sharehouses of Brisbane. She won the 2020 Wesley Michel Wright Award and Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award, and has performed across Australia. She loves to watch Fixer Upper.
by Anna Jacobson
At my appointment my doctor
tells me I need to go into hospital
to change over my meds--
that I have acute anxiety. Halfway
through speaking she recoils. I ask
if she's seen a giant spider. No,
a cockroach, would it upset you
if I kill it? It climbs through patient
files 124-698 from 2020. She squishes
the roach in her fingers
with a tissue. It upsets me more
than I thought.
I want to time the hospitalization
so I can make it to my best-friend's
wedding. I'm a bridesmaid.
The roach crawls from bin to floor
using prehistoric powers. She stomps
on it five times. I think that can
be arranged, she says. I buy
my family four vanilla-custard
doughnuts to break the news.
Mum gives me a plant cutting
in a jar of water to keep in my room
until my admission day. Gardenias
leak tears from hidden cracks. My bro
drives me to the chemist. We get stuck
behind a bus that asks r u ok?
to the lyrics of everything's
gonna be alright.
The previous day my bro asked
my parents: when does the strange lady
leave? Today we make dinner together.
I put oranges in a salad and sauté
onions, forget to cry.
Anna Jacobson is an award-winning author and artist from Brisbane. Amnesia Findings (UQP, 2019) is her first full-length poetry collection, which won the 2018 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. In 2020 Anna won the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing and was awarded a Queensland Writers Fellowship. Her website is www.annajacobson.com.au