sian vate


breathing into my left lung 
you’re not young. you’re crystal filler 
forming round the outside 
of the left side of my wrist
      on open water we trade hope 
& sand & marble options 
coffee aftertaste threatens us
from a passing light craft 
beads of fabric & dust on lead 
greet the boat in a creepy port 
we crush them with our volleys
      & stare into the tunnel 
walled off with a glass floor in the 
corner of the island church
      my files are 
island-thick / g-drive heavy
soaked in carpet & 
towing the boat to safety 
      plastic sparks & 
sends threats into the navy 
it’s smooth / run your chest 
along it / sleep in the tank 
drink the shark’s water 
& pose 
we sweat our wounds clean 
in the bar: roses & glitter 
in my watch: history 
in my palms: hair & feeling
in the water: foam & salt
in my veins: love & minerals

i love it 

it tiches around the corners of the canines
it’s awkward when the motion produces a 
pop [chap lips]. i breathe through the nose
in my mind. shutter one eye when it stings

i love how it’s heavy on the heart & sick
but a creep / the next day in the scarf. & 
choking up my denim jacket like a kid
like cctv cameras watching lone walkers

‘would you rather’ – be at a bush doof 
forever or be summarily executed – james 
that’s an extreme example but i chose death 
when he made the dun-tch dun-tch sound &

said the music would be 24/7. in mexico 
it’s cheap & ash drops into the avo cos of 
the noise of the talking that’s lashing & 
landed it there. like salt on your glasses & 

spit in your hair. i love it. coking up eve’s 
kitchen say: there’s someone there you’ve 
never met & her blueness & finger tattoos 
are one thing still on the window ledge 

can smoke in the kitchen. can spit in the 
soup. can drag the oil in the seafood with 
your hair. fingers are drunk from reading
& rolling. you’re running a tab. i love it


driving in an otways storm playing aphex twin. greg combet redoes the 
kitchen in a 70’s thatched hue with a new coffee machine & a favoured 
office doggo is coming down in the lifts for lunch. is reading poetry on 
the edge of a cliff – bolaño – & being stalked by an eagle there / & you
start to feel loneliness gang up on you the way sand is collecting in the 
bottom of your tent so you walk into the ocean & the eagle follows you 
in / & from that eagle’s viewpoint the water is shouldering the beach & 
throwing all the blues & whites & greys & greens into relief. awesome
in one direction: a huge goanna / in another: a cute french kid. it’s like:
lemon & pepper on oysters / & squeezing your best night tight. dealers
will spin out quietly staring at dancefloors with closed eyes. hotels will
design their positions on hills to catch the fracturing light. children will
reach up to hold hands without checking in on the adult. soccer matches
will crouch like wind blocking & then letting one in. i throw salt & dill 
on the meat to cast it at different angles. i look at you then look away &
your face folds in the looking away. lights on the upfield scream before 
the train blinks into view. alma & elanor hold close together then laugh
when the book is right. the strange colours film was obsessed with opals
& the opals showed shacks in the bush in a new & natural light. you’re 
a heap of colours travelling down the tram line & i can’t wait to see you

sian vate is a poet in melbourne. she works for united workers union.
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