Poetry: Emilie Collyer

Emilie Collyer
By the light


You try to name it,

a memory.

Of being in a crowd

on a cold night,

an ordinary night,

a party maybe,


and stamping.


The others cluster

like moths bees puppies

their group warmth

like so many suns,

when something tugs at

you, an urge

to trot your little hooves

and step away.


First cut of separation,

how it hurts

how we crave it,

the dark animal

in us who knows

what it is

to be abandoned,

ordinary sorrow.


The night

offers solace.

How the moon

has to hang

in the sky alone,

is patient

only catches our eye

on certain nights


Walk away

from the buzzing throng

alone into the quiet

the outline of your body

disappears—look up!

The trick of the moon

is making us believe

in its light.




Pulling at wisdom


The television tells me

there is a new way to shop

doughnuts are bad for my teeth

a boy in a wheelchair is only pretending

to need a wheelchair but this doesn’t

mean he can’t sing

smiling children are happier

once there is running water

in their village

what the television is saying

may not be true but this doesn’t mean

I don’t believe it

Imagine getting a new Apple iPad today!

I don’t want an Apple iPad but

that doesn’t mean I can’t get one

I had two wisdom teeth left

and now they are gone

blood pools in my mouth

and codeine makes me sick

I lie for hours on the couch

the fat people want to be thin

and the thin people want

to be superstars

we can all have what we want

if we want it enough

I know that soon the itching will start

my tongue will seek the smooth

gaps left where rotting teeth used to be

has wisdom left me or is it about

to come flooding in

outside this room it all carries on

we don’t always

have enough money

worry breeds with

the enthusiasm of rabbits

it’s one night among nights

when the drugs almost work

swinging between what hurts

and what numbs

what if all the happy stories

could be true. 

Emilie Collyer lives in Australia on Wurundjeri land where she writes poetry, plays and prose. Her writing has been published and produced both in Australia and internationally, and has been awarded numerous accolades. Emilie is a current PhD candidate at RMIT, researching feminist creative practice. Most recently in Booth (USA), The Ekphrastic Review (USA), The Blue Nib (Ireland), TEXT, Rabbit, Witness Performance and Cordite. Award-winning plays include Contest, Dream Home and The Good Girl which has had multiple international productions.

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