The Business Woman

The business woman hunts you
in a dark forest.
She’s got a head on her shoulders.
She’s not that much older than you.

The business woman haunts you.
In the past, you’ve heard her say,
‘If the evil got into my arm
I would cut it off.’

The business woman hounds you.
Her crossbow aim is deadly.
You know one bolt to the heart
is all it would take.

The business woman hunts you
and there’s light in the forest.
Everything is strangely clear
when you realise...

Christine Della Vedova (Western Australia)



We didn’t really need another
soft mouth to dote on, menagerie full

already of half-spoken demands for attention,
but something drew me to you.

Free of pet-shop guilt, no transaction
of bodies for profit, we welcomed you home.

All wool and angles, thin body and bat stares,
you hooked something in my shoulder.

Already you know these corners better than I,
a spear among hair pins. Let the eyes in.

No need to hide. Kitten’s coat is a patchwork
of tortoiseshell run-off, half-mask bare.

She weighs no more than the adoption forms
I threw upon the desk, but there is steel

inside those half-moon claws. She cuts tracks
in everything she touches. But it is no matter:

I’ll roll the ball and smile at her stumbles.
Silence is the most selfish affection today.

The worst kitten season on record, they said
at the shelter. Twenty today alone. We could take

only one, leaving her littermates
for a spell, until their time moves off

to the backroom. One survivor in our midst,
she tumbles across my lap, looks up and sees nothing.

At night, I will sleep lightly for fear
of covering her head in my arms.

No peace in those small moments, she paces
the edges of her realm. Refuge is only a larger cage,

after all. But here her amber eyes will track me
where guilt can always reach.

Her step will be a shadow that grows longer
with every year. Lily bulb eyes settling in damp earth.

My hands are an apology unwelcomed, face juts to mine,
then waits – whisker pads rise as if to bite.

Siobhan Hodge (Western Australia)



Between two high notes
The song leaves a crack
Wide enough
To let me in
Like a fish jumping back
Into night water

The fish and I leave no
Trace, and the world
Remains undisturbed as we swim
Deeper and deeper in blue silence

Upon my return, I find the music
Still going on, while the fish has
Disappeared into the unknown

Yuan Changming (Canada)



And you?
You're a cafe
with retro decor
On the wall
you have a picture
of Audrey Hepburn
as Holly Golightly
wearing that dress
showing you
in black
and white

You know
that Audrey is dead
and Holly lived only
in Capote's mind
Neither of them
will ever
come in

Each woman
who comes in
has a coffee at one
of your little tables
Maybe your faded formica surface
and chrome edges and screws
feel like her mother
and father

She raises
your warm black cup
Considers the froth
the white heart
you've drawn for her
Puts her mouth to it
Sucks it
to an abstract

as Audrey
and Holly
from your wall

Jackson (Western Australia)