A northern branch – rough handled – right
for curving the animal from me.
In winter she opens: one white flower.

Sticks lie flat across branches; raft
on the fall of tree. One stick still burns

a green flame, like a question
or a falling child – testing the sharp
edge, death.

Ghosts stay in the cut wood. I play
with the obedient ghosts, and never

wonder about the other child
who left so quietly
this home-made.

I take it in like apples, breaking
the falling silence with the snap of hunger.


The wild has entered and planted fence stone
full with native weed-fruit; the patience of seeds

is water carrying time into the rock. This field
is slipping dream toward the river – nature

deciding itself (before un-nature
is carried into life – sad monster

sewn to the wrong soil
gabbling a mixed patois).

Bulbs speak their tongues in
flower – promises of life

in impossible places – the fall
of living at the end of the


We lie the blanket where the ground slopes
west. It’s stars we want: they hang in the old

tree their small cold fire. We offer up apples
to the taking stars. Our talk tastes

better that way; it’s measured and means

This second skin is tight with friendship
in the hollow of words

first tested – rashly bearing
what we don’t know
as wild turns on inside us,

kids. She’s alone, breaking flowers
when the deer startles

in the dark – animal – white eyes
hot above a heart.

Misplaced, they both live briefly
until the bell of breaking glass

recalls her

Frances Olive

Frances Olive is an Australian poet and short story writer.

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