There is a certain type of scream
No child should ever make
As a mother if you hear it
You are instantly awake.

Should I mind my own business
Or knock upon the door?
I cannot do the first
The second scares me more.

The frequent sounds of distress
Disturb me more each day
I cannot hear those children
And turn my heart away.

Who do I tell about this?
What is the right thing to do?
Maybe nothing’s wrong
Yet I worry that’s not true.

I hope my fears are groundless
But I have to make that call
No child should make that sound
The one that’s coming through my wall.

Lady Satellite (Western Australia)
First published on the author's blog, Lady Satellite — 365 Poems Project

'you can see forever she said—'

you can see forever she said — we sat in camp chairs over looking cretaceous paleo channels — still there from time when land masses pulled back — cracked and broke — rainforests quaked wet — mountains smashed up — rivers carved new beds with blades of water — and mammals were set to rule

above us jezebels did the butterfly polka from native pine to native pine — laying a pheromone trail on the hilltop breeze — semaphored the sex message in gold and black wing beats against the dense two pm blue — where the moon played peek a boo

out on the lake a slake of water flaked to salt — continued the slow work of glint–encrust–entomb — alarmed wrens jack-knifed into blue bush — a wedge-tail caught the updraft curve disappeared into bright

we read sand’s stories of a hopping mouse love-in — bronze wings’ forage — the leap from feed to flight — around spinifex the snake’s hunting circle — saw where echidnas quarried for the set menu — found curled among ironstone sun dried joey remains

on a hill in the shade of native pines where jezebels still semaphored in gold and black our eyes clung to the silver threaded horizon — we stared back through clean light — thought we saw forever.

Coral Carter (Western Australia)

The Pieces of the Moon

It shattered in the sky.
Clattered among the stars and heaps of nothingness.
Light bled

Through the cracks, pumping to Earth
In a steady beat
Of overwhelming heat.

It was in pieces. Neat
Bite-sized crumbs which I reached into the clouds
And took

And let weigh down my pant pockets.
Greed blinded me.
I took the final piece between my prints

And it burned my fingers.
It was beautiful to look at
As I sank.

Shelby Traynor (Western Australia)

The sound

Jackson (Western Australia)
From the album The right metaphor
First published (in text) on the author's website Proximity.

'i saw you looking at me...'

i saw you looking at me
last night with
your burnt orange pallor

I walked up the stairs
it was fun and
I did not encounter
a centipede.

Susan Laura Sullivan (Western Australia)

Baby in a bucket

A baby in a bucket
Psychosis waits for quiet moments
Please don’t go
A boneless baby in a bucket
Depression sucks me into bed
Imprisons me for weeks
The Taliban shoot a hundred school children
Paranoid spiderwebs of cause and effect
A mother stabs eight children to death
Drunken stumbling through transparent life
Or is there more?
A boneless translucent baby in a bucket
Miasma of failure seeping from suicides
A friend of mine takes so much speed that he stays up for two weeks then hangs himself
So alone
It’s never enough
Houses upon houses iterating and reiterating
You can buy a coat for your dog which simulates the feeling of a hug
Tip the boneless translucent baby out of the bucket
Will I touch it?
Does it live?
Fangs pierce my neck
Fish-hooks perforate my flesh

Timothy Parkin (Western Australia)
First published in… well, the Editor remembers seeing this somewhere, possibly in one of the ‘Department of Poetry’ zines. Watch this space if you care.

Hot Ghost

i’m always standing in
the hot ghost of your car
poets blood
cold in my fingers.
Crucifix me a drink while
you’re inside my mind:
the esky of our empathy —
Its blue fingerprint plastic
fading in warmer years
in rusted lifetimes
of caring
in weeks
of love
in seconds
of understanding
the scholars of Sunday Afternoon.
i was good at this once:
shaking your revolution lego.
but now i’ve
faded completely underneath
your planet
and been replaced by
with wrapping paper.
i am:
your lost phone
your wasted Monday,
something you can do
with your bones —

Laundry Man (Western Australia)

A version of this poem was exhibited at The University of Western Australia for Trove's Poems on Posters project.

A Tentative Entry

It didn’t take his
finger up my bum
to tell me I had
benign prostatic hyperplasia.
I’d been reading
about it for years –
and it felt good.

A finger up my bum
told me more than
I needed to know
or feel. A tentative
entry, first night trembles
on a stuttering stage.

It told me more than
a dark shaking whisper
in a light-glanced
world of dazzling marigolds
could hold in one open
hand. Or in a stretched
maw gaping with memories.

A dark shaking whisper
pre ambled into a vale of fears,
moistened, glistening, a zephyr of anticipation
and digit. The penetration had begun.

Allan Padgett (Western Australia)


Why watch this high definition technicolour misery
of unclaimed sandals, bullet-pocked walls
where oil, blood and water glisten in rainbow slicks?
And fire hoses weep a useless trickle
while women wail, and men tear their hair.
See another battered Toyota circle, its cargo of militia
bristling with moral duty and lethal metal
spruiking megaphonic orders that rip the air.
The clamour drowning out the call to prayer.

I am reminded of the Roman poet Martial
watching carnage at the Coliseum with disgust.
Challenged as to why a man of his demeanour
should be seen at such a place
he replied, he must come,
for ‘these are my times and I must know them’.

Laurie Smith (Western Australia)

the moon's reminder

prefer boat to ship – sounds rounder, safer –
ten of them, a scattering, at all angles,
paper boats, only paper is for stories

people in one boat, sea unfolding,
wind scuffing cheeks –
prefer boat to ship – sounds fatter, safer

caught betwixt and neaped and between,
at the whim of moon’s tug,
a paper boat, only paper is for stories

letters and boats make journeys, while
the tide is the moon’s reminder –
prefer boat to ship – sounds rounder, fatter

but flotsam needs to be found,
lifted, held in cupped palms,
a paper boat, only paper is for stories

so I’m building a jetty of words, line by
plank by line, out to these
paper boats, only paper is for stories –
prefer boat to ship, sounds rounder, safer

Kevin Gillam (Western Australia)

First published on the Sawtooth Review website
Winner of the 2014 Sawtooth Writing Prize, Poetry


Early navigation.
Whole days spent charting shorelines,
                                                                shining sands of skin.
Mornings, I ran my hands over the hollows and dunes in my sheets,
the body’s language for this landscape of the other
                                                                             warm on my fingers.

We spoke of crossing an interior;
our speech, sure as the sun at its zenith,
                                                               threw no shadows.

Easy to navigate on autopilot.
A constant reckoning of school and car keys.
The pole star of ourselves
                          always there in the somehow of early and late.

Sailing alone again
we startled at reefs and shallows
our language listing in tropic television seas.

Co-ordinates misplaced,
you turned to tripods and binoculars,
watched from your fixed point above the riverbank.
You did not see diamonds flying from a kayak’s oar,
dogs smiling in their timeless present and skies of naked pink
                                                               disrobing in the mauve of evening.

Navigation gone,
we lived amongst gaps, my compass skewed
by ferrous fears and the lustrous pieces of your astrolabe
stolen by slate-grey days; love absent, inarticulate and spent.

Mornings, I run my hands
over the hollows and dunes of you left in our sheets,

but I am a map-maker,
I can chart this arctic dialect of loss.

Flora Smith (Western Australia)

First published in Westerly