Zoe Dzunko


And of all the things I never wished to be
one was a woman. At nine — from inside
pink walls with curtains printed like rose
gardens; from my long hair — I escaped,
crawling inside of a sleeping bag. On the
floor of the white spare room, gingerly
I petted swamp frogs, hermit crabs. Wet
and dry, begrudging of my hot caresses
and sleeping as I traced model Cessnas.
At eleven, inside the grey cockpit of my
Grandfather’s plane — I would be the next
in line to fly; I was cutting my hair short
in my mind. The sky was cerise and felt right
as though it matched my insides; dark land
glared back quite sternly, and solemnly
I resolved that I could never be both the
clouds and the ground below them —
I had still split them in two until I met you.


The first time it is a rectangle
and not an arc, as we had
seen in the sky, remarkably
straight on each side, all
colours perfectly divided —
like the swatches I had held
to white walls, paintbrush
in hand — even when my
finger lay flat across the red
it did not budge or blur, it
simply occupied me too;
I suppose it always has.

Now, they are everywhere:
on fabrics, across the seat
of your wingback chair, on
my knee, once, when the sun
was just right — and today
to my delight, a cheerful
splash across the bathroom
wall; I was combing my hair
and I almost missed it — this
world, so full of beauty and
much of it that we cannot see
with our very own eyes.


Carnation covered and red as a scream
against the lapel of his white wedding
suit — twenty-six years old, it flutters
beneath the glare of camera flashes
and the weight of his father’s hand upon
his shoulder, that anchor of expectancy
in my mother’s eyes, and comes to rest
beneath those sheaths of cotton, of linen,
of polyester; walnut shaped and cloistered —
muffling the murmur that kept him out
of Vietnam and benched during competition
cricket, that today trembles on; my father’s
heart, now ink filled and thumping dully
inside the hollow mouth of a CT scanner.

Zoe Dzunko is a writer from Melbourne, Australia and is currently completing her MA in Creative Writing. Her poetry has been published in numerous Australian and international journals, and her most recent work can be found in places such as Tide, Rabbit, Gutter Eloquence and Softblow.
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