Strawberry dawn

The current sluices through her toes, rendering them in duck shit.

She picks at a whitehead on her shoulder.

She wears a bra with solid black straps, sheer cups – expensive.

He doesn’t wear any clothes.

He didn’t notice her remove it, but her navel diamante is gone.


They have smoked too much ice. Anyone but them could see that,

but there isn’t anyone else

for kilometres. Everyone is either asleep at camp, or off dancing.

Overhead: dawn red-gum ashtanga.

Inside the pipe they smoke from, smoke more, it’s bituminous.


As she swims, she tongues the gap between her teeth – bloodshot

contortionist urging herself

through an enamel frame. Green mud daubs her emergent

belly. The deadwood outcrop slime

grants her fingers no purchase, feet no traction, so he pulls her up.


They get to be kissing, the sun gets itself ascended, influential. She

tastes of chemicals and river water.

In vain they try to fuck in the water. This is the third morning in a row

that they have not wakened. This has nothing at all to do with it.


He mentions the cat and axolotl cemetery, beneath the Monterey

pine in his childhood backyard. He plays

dumb when she asks him was he at ejaculation

age for his first orgasm. That supple

rime the axolotls got, white shadow, before death; he mentions it


and laughs. Deep down, they’re drawn to each other for the hyper

-commiseration, the overtasked body.

At different times their heads return to the home key after vagrant

harmonic wandering. Strawberries

ripen on blue vines. They smoke more. The Murray parents them.

Image: Axolotl / flickr





Anders Villani

Anders Villani holds an MFA from the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program, where he received the Delbanco Prize for poetry. His first book, Aril Wire, was released in 2018 by Five Islands Press. He lives in Melbourne.

More by Anders Villani ›

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