Shadow Curtain


In the dark corridor

of the house I am haunting

(it towers on flimsy foundations

is all duck egg cornices

and balestrades)

hangs a dark curtain.

When I brush it aside

(it rustles like breath in whisker hairs

and is as slender)

something slides further into the shadows.

I am not at pains to know what

this retreating figure

(because it was that – solid, if on wheels,

led perhaps,  a stiffened toy

pulled by something darker.) is.

I let the fabric drop

and ripple off  into the light

but now there is a new thing

caught there in the crux of my diaphragm.

I shoulder off fear and attend to new

footsteps in the dusty debris.

The crumb of bread

Poetry, Uncategorized

The bread that I made

morsel after morsel missed your mouth

and so all this kneading and knifing

came to this crumb in the mud trodden garden.

The wheat that grew

the yeast that rose

the days and days spent

like silver coins that tremble in your pocket

grains and grains from the silo to the mill

fall to this sparrow to eat

all beak and instinct

combing and combing through the world for edibles

and our crumb turns to wingbeats

wind in the trees and dust-throwing breeze.

A day like today


On a day with the wind and the sun

fidgeting with the clouds

we will leave the town for the long hot stretches of the road

where the distance fidgets with our eyesight

and we will say the names of places

a mantra as the wheels turn on the bitumen.


The children shout for Melbourne, Adelaide and Bight,

but you will say ‘Ceduna’ with the sunset wharf

across your brow for a moment the revving engines in the dark

and I’ll say ‘Esperence’ over west

with all those oversized flowers and blooming surf

and the lift of clouds that have only known sea

and find that raining on land

makes fascinating punctures in the earth

to get all that fidgeting back again.

You As Witch

Poetry, Uncategorized

I loved you all the better that evening:

you came in from the half dark

after chasing the chooks home

with your earthy feet

dry and calloused

like the feet of a witch

who grew herbs among her flowerbeds

thick rich greens edible

fantastic in the flakey night.


Your words became feathery and

preened in the lamplight


the ones that formed and formed again

so that your tongue grew calloused and dry

honest incantations

flakey as your naked feet

and just as telling.


This feeling gently grew like darkness

over the way you poured us tea

turning on your heel to fetch

lemons or more water

the curve on the shadow of your ankle

fathers there, or leaves

to cure us of cares that have been

calloused as chicken’s feet

thick, now, as thieves.