Miro Bilbrough


Look you say a torture chamber
Worm turns, rears
Ants hellishly bent on dining
mob living sinew, pale belly
We could rescue it
you peter out
No-one moves
but stands to watch
the question mark of pain
Worm’s silent howl
but also, inter-species disregard


A diffident current
tugs at awareness
Black Dog skirts, vacillates
We shuffle our bums along sandstone stair
She lollops past
ribbons in the green
a black scarf unspooling in waves
her red of tongue
her curlicue coat

Back on land
she capers and capsizes
exposes her doggy underbrush
douses in grass

We watch her

swallow ecstasy in small gulps
unbridled, decorous
as if the afternoon were a tea party
and her master, guest

and are taken
by the single salty lick
of a sudden wave


He shouts on an unknown street.
From the genealogical sofa, fairground eyes
shouting while his Mother steers course, deadly as a frigate
through the troubled waters of her lounge to weigh anchor with
the crossword, keeping vigil as her son asphyxiates
a pillow. That lady visitor, small
comely as a hand grenade.

He snaps chopsticks like kindling, temper
carpeting the recently redecorated, sparsely patronised
mid-afternoon dumpling house, Shanghai Night
like forest fire.
Manhood has made him overnight.
Statuesque in skinny jeans, inflammably pale of skin
he fluoresces, splenetic with splendour
uneasy of mantle.
Time hangs off him like petty crime.

She wonders are these night terrors his
or hers; whose, this gain in shame?
By sleight of skin she becomes him

bellowing under the coercive Australian sun
politeness, carapace of the angry, beetling away.
Rising from her bed the dogs of self, howling.

The little boy beneath her floor has the itch too.
He’s passed it to his Don’t-you-dare-speak-to-me-like-that-Mother.
She keeps mixing the child’s name with his.
It no longer matters that he is three, and you, 22.


My father
wore white shoes.
My mother
wiped the kitchen linoleum
with my brother's hair.
My sister
is named after a coin of
the English realm.
I met an ostrich
as I rounded a corner.
We might have been related.
We eyeballed each other
and passed on.
My greatest fear,
I will outlive them all.

Miro Bilbrough is a filmmaker who writes poetry and is currently undertaking a Doctorate of Arts at the University of Western Sydney. She has published poetry in numerous NZ journals, and in 2010, her debut collection, Small-Time Spectre (Kilmog Press). Her feature film Being Venice premiered at the Sydney Film Festival and is due for Australian theatrical release later in 2013. Her other films include Floodhouse and Bartleby.
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