Yesterday a raven, a dragonfly today
Yesterday a one-eyed raven
Receiving bread from an older friend's wiry, practised hand.
No abrasion where its second eye should have been.
Only shiniest sheen, slightly sunken.
Hunched on her fence.
Tweaking its bluish blade hither and thither.
Downy chest ruffling in January's gentle northerly.
Venturing closer, sinuous clamps shifting, shuffling on the fence line.
Unexpected contour in coat-tail debonair.
On first sight from an armchair by the window, my words middlebrow:
'that is one ominous bird.'
'yes ...' she only gazed across the room.
'he has his place in nature, just the same.'
Watching his eye watching nothing long,
I realised I had watched nothing for long, lately.
A dragonfly caught my eye,
Brought to rest on shore.
In a wing, delicate geometry.
In a wing, travels in time.
Refracted in wet sun.
Never to be duplicated.
Drowned in everlasting sleep.
A sentimental burial beckoned from dunes behind us.
I scooped the gritty, wet bronze beneath the body.
Fizzing on wings afresh it curved away over wild ocean.
Flight of the Falling
I am trying to love with an open hand,
trying to understand
how kisses can land on my palm
only to fly away.
When I'm with you,
I take off my rings,
unlatch my watch
and untie my hair.
And it's so quiet, so so quiet,
like a film without a soundtrack.
I can't tell if it's a love story or a tragedy,
because no one's composed the music yet.
We're in the space before knowing,
where falling and flying are the same thing.
I've got bruises under lily skin
from our lovemaking,
thumbprints from being gripped
in so many soft places,
making blood flow
under the surface in bursts
like little fireworks.
My love for you
wing-clipped in my chest,
as we chatter in circles
and touch knees under tablecloths
no one could ever see
the flutter you provoke in me.
A mute canary chained so tight,
its rib-rattling song will never take flight
to set the room abuzz;
there will be no words of love.
All grief carries the weight
of those losses that have come before
and those we know are coming.
We sense their meandering passage over our skin.
He scrabbles bark for a foothold
fledgling muscles limber as a possum's
They've cut school to snatch
eggs, the possibilities
of prize, of schoolyard aerodynamics,
the swoop and pecking bravado
Swings up in sunlight, grapples
white on bruise-blue on white eclipses
his skin, kaleidoscopic
as the sought cargo's
He's higher now,
medicine scent waters sight,
twigs make a nest of his crown,
scratch tiny forks across
cheeks arms legs bared
hairy with effort
He looks down
at the gang fisting his flight
like a chorus nearly there nearly there
hears the sea-leaves,
inches out, belly
strapped to beanpole
the only division between
mortality and fall nesting eggs ellipses
each slow minute reaching Open
pouch mouth to house
the booty like stones, precious as
petals on his mother's cheeks earlier
this morning in frost,
waving them into the day's
learning He's swaying, now,
dizzy from height – floating on empty
the weight of return
Bronwyn Lovell is an emerging poet in Melbourne. She has been published in Cordite Poetry Review, Antipodes, and shortlisted for the 2011 Montreal International Poetry Prize.
Tru S. Dowling is a poet, performer and word-lover. Her poetry has appeared in various Australian literary journals. She has taught writing to children and adults since 2000, currently in Bendigo Tafe's PW&E Diploma.
James Hughes has won in The Hal Porter, EJ Brady and City of Melbourne short story Contests. In 2007 his story, The Dogs of Korea, won first prize at The Fellowship of Australian Writers Annual awards. In The Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize, 2007, judges awarded a group of his poems runner-up. James has also published articles with The Age, The Australian, The Weekend Australian Magazine and The Big Issue.
The above poems are the three finalists from the 2011 Poetica Christi Poetry Competition.