Jane Gibian: Two poems

  Jane Gibian

 
  Two poems
 

  Slipstone;   Embossed
Jane Gibian
Two poems

    •     Slipstone
    •     Embossed

  Slipstone

Untrodden rhythms: the pace of your life
a tightly wound spring on short turn-around,
small distinction between darkness and light,
slipstone or clingstone, peach or nectarine;

thoughts verdant and ropey twist in night
colloquies, the cage of the chest settling
into a light-fingered embrace. On her red
velvet skirt, traces of the day: blue biro,

daisy pollen, icing sugar of sour cherry
strudel. Baby, you lick the soft place
at her inner elbow like a lover. Let the upper
eyelid meet the lower: brevity of each

interval: sleep   /   cry   /   eat   /   incongruous
with chapters that elongate cruelly,
love-punctured by your fossicking hands
of strawberries and toast.

  Embossed

Just waking, thin splinters of thought
slide into runnels between dreams: your eyes
uncap to the fluted cylinders of vietnamese

chrysanthemums. Still wrapped in the skin of night,
the bathroom tiles patterned as water trickling
across the floor, like the white-on-white raised swirls

of girls’ school uniforms. Around noon, when the day
has started rotting a little, the dense smells
of over-ripe fruit, sulphur and vegetable matter

are familiar, the line between produce and garbage
narrowed. The burnt-red shells of dried melon seeds
scatter across café floors, discarded by the roadside,

in the cuffs of a student’s turned-up trousers,
and a sludge of undissolved sugar waits
in empty coffee cups. Glass doors on a balcony

swing in the wind, the quiet outlines of clouds
move faintly across the pane, rubbing against
each other. Dusk approaching, this road becomes

a rippling stream under street light, and she tells
you that a red cloth draped over the cage
quietens birds most effectively.

Photo: Jane Gibian, by James Stuart, cropped.
Photo: Jane Gibian, by James Stuart, cropped.
 

Jane Gibian is a poet and librarian whose publications include tidemark (Vagabond Press, 2013) and Ardent (Giramondo, 2007). Her work has been widely anthologised, most recently in The turnrow Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry (2014) and Thirty Australian Poets (UQP, 2011).

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