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Tough but fair confronts human vulnerability

  • 21 July 2015

Poems by Lea McInerney and Sandra Renew Hollow Aluminium walking stick clangs             against the metal leg of the café chair. The old man wields his bulk clumsily, limbs            wayward on this cruel outing. His body used to be a machine, set to grab             quick coffees between big decisions. Now his wife stirs his cup as he leans             into her, their bond a parade of regret. – Lea McInerney

Sitting By Her Father’s Grave Ten Years On Up on the hill across the valley the skyline glows orange, distant clouds promise rain. A flicker of life in a tree close by breaks her far away gaze: a bird showing its fledgling how to fly. – Lea McInerney Hemmed in Although at first glance it seems improbable, there is a season in the swamp when ants grow wings and fly in the last light before the rising fog. I know it is also in the normal range for a murmurer, hemmed in by government perfidy, a biting gnat in the morass, a bitter poet whose tongue is not silenced, to fly, for one moment. – Sandra Renew

Cost The young man puffs out his cheeks, blows air out through pursed lips. He runs his fingers through his hair, elbows out like chicken wings. The woman holds up her hand to stop him speaking, with one finger pushes her black-framed glasses back into place, continues tapping keys in a large face calculator. The dog, a bitzer with a lot of kelpie in her, tied with a rough rope, sits erect looking from one face to the other, water dish untouched. And the tiny baby in the old pram sleeps. adding up the measures of a life debts and balance — will our children know the cost of it all? – Sandra Renew

Lea McInerney's poetry has been published in Cordite Poetry Review, Southerly and forthcoming in Meanjin.





Sandra Renew, who worked in Afghanistan and other war-affected and conflict areas for eleven years, has poems published in Flood, Fire and Drought (Ginninderra Press), an anthology exploring the effect of weather events on the Australian landscape.




Man being interviewed image by Shutterstock.