The poem poised to be written


Selected poems





Slivers of dream before sleep

the whistle after the hum

a palette unmuddied

buds blushed & tight-lipped


precipitation before thunder

anticipation in the dusty wings

premonition & catalyst

excavation site unseen


the poem poised to be written

a treble clef before dancing notes

the dapple around the whisper

a story unbirthed & untold


unsung & not yet heralded

by a soft-throated caress

adrift waiting for solidity

A whirring prelude at best.




Williamstown Pier


We’re walking in a painting

pointillist blue and silver

gold and light


white-masted boats

diagonally splayed

fanning the water


If only: Chagall lovers

breeze giddy

ripples below our feet


you’re pulling me up:

kites kissing the sun

a slow rising melody.





Tonight the sky was polished marble slab

when I drove home from you

no longer with bright red lipstick

as quietly radiant as the necklace of light

on the West Gate Bridge above


tonight I will sleep with the film of sweat

hair matted and skin tender

scrawled over with your invisible signature

warm from the exchanges of breath

& the motion of bodies through space


tonight the world feels a little less cruel

surely an agent of benediction not chaos

led me to you wild-eyed & bird-boned

that very first time a tremulous hope

caught in the throat awaiting expression.



Thuy OnThuy On is a freelance literary and arts journalist and critic. Her work has been published in various places including The Australian, The Age, The SMH, Books+Publishing, The Guardian, The Sydney Review of Books and ArtsHub. For the last seven years she's been books editor of The Big IssueHer first book, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, was published by UWAP in March, 2020. She's working on her second collection, Decadence. Author photo by Leah Jing.

Topic tags: Thuy On, poetry



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