Anne Walsh

Anne Walsh is a poet and a story writer. Her work has been published widely in print and online. She has been shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize twice and for the ACU Prize for Literature. Her first collection of poems, I Love Like a Drunk Does, was published by Ginninderra Press (2009, Australia). Her work has also been published in the U.S., including a short story, ‘The Rickman Digression’, by Glimmer Train. Her second book of poems, Intact, is forthcoming with Flying Island Press.



Your death is a soft, green wing. Velvet spun by sun.
A parrot’s wing. Just one more thing, one more shade of impossible
for grief to jump into like a souped up car. Electric lime.
Vegas neon of a Lorikeet. Your death dresses old school big time.
Ridiculous feather, the pink paisley of a pimp
in a 1970’s detective show I can’t take my eyes off of
such great clothes, so out there.

Memory is a record breaking blizzard.
Colours all the maps SES blue in the breaking newsroom
of this evacuated body. This weather woman, under paid, caught
for the duration on air in the studio.
Just out of frame, the storage closet it really is.
A stiff mop. A bucket with a bit of throw-up water.
I don’t believe my own predictions.
Hope is the unfillable toothless gas tank
of a Buick iced-in two blocks down.
Oh the belaboured point of her non-existence.
Hope is like god now.

Closures, detours, no through roads.
Slippery roundabout this. Again and again:
once I slowly invaded the privacy
of that part of your neck usually reserved
for your shirt just under your collar.
Oh! I was your shirt briefly so briefly.

And now I kiss your neck under the collar of the world
over and over
I kiss and kiss and kiss you.
I’m so drifted with the feel of you
which didn’t leave with you that nowhere do I belong.
Everywhere I long.
Not being able to talk to you is its own language.
Some kind of sign. A way of not moving. But flowing.
Lake glottal. Snow cuneiform.
I’m walking across the tops of cars.
Some souls that are still here but gone
go to the weigh-station where things already gone go.
And that’s inevitably when they take the picture.
Like of the last Tassie Tiger.
Her back hyper bent, so unlike her living self.
So bent with the lack of bending trees at evening,
those steeples from which everything
called her people to prayer.
She’s not looking at the camera
because it takes everything that isn’t her.
She’s looking at the dead body of her language.
Nothing is able to be said.

I miss your chest. Your Renaissance Jesus chest.
Your El Greco treasure chest a giant firefly
in the backseat of your car lighting up
like a cigarette with wings
when you unbuttoned your shirt.
I took in a lung full of light.
I miss the sky-when-I-was-six colour of your eyes.
The defibrillating blue of when the swing tips up
as much as it can and you become sky.
Now my heart is stopped by hooker boa green everywhere,
the diamantes of summer grass.

Death doesn’t wear mourning clothes.
She’s New York fashion week.
Bright streaks.
Unbelievable heels.
She’s toucan-nosed.
Bright as a fish.
And everything alive dances with her.
Real Rhumba.
Hips pressed together under open fire hydrants
in the middle of the afternoon.
And she doesn’t run when the cops come.
Never before did trees dance salsa or want so badly.
Everything is alive except for the lover whose love has died.
She’s the deadest thing living.