Contemporary Australian Poetry.

Havan† by Stuart Barnes

Mr Harwood by Karen Murphy

Love and marriage

by Grace Heyer


I thought for a moment that I might love you

better if you walked past with a cigarette dangling

from your lower lip; licked there, balanced

on gravity and the last words you spoke. Although


it was a Catholic wedding, we didn't bother with the Mass,

so I've never seen you drink. That is the condition:

Communion wine. Do you fancy watching me eat steak?

I'd have to submit to carnivorism in the apocalypse. That's my


condition: Armageddon. Oh, you'd love that, wouldn't you?

And you'd weave an eloquent critique. "Binary", you'd remind me.

"You're all ones and zeros." You reckon you'd do anything to turn me

on; it'd take the end of the world to talk me round. Or, perhaps, if


you walked in with a live owl on your head, or a telegram from

Billie Holiday, or a signed first edition of Mother Courage

And Her Children. Maybe if you returned to the kitchen,

exited again looking like the landscape gardener my neighbours


hired when I was eight years old. At the time, he was probably

younger than I am now. Maybe if you smelled of newly

cleaned things despite a three-day beard. Maybe if you spoke

with a Russian accent, or in Basque, or with cranium-cracking


knowledge of the cosmos. Maybe if I had a time machine…

I used to love the precision of you, as if your simplicity

maintained your freshness. If mine is a binary personality, then yours

is like packaged tofu. Now, all I want is to meet you for the first time.


This version's in a Uni bar, our hopeful introductions swallowed by

the ramblings of an inexperienced Ska band. I could fall in love with your

greedy face scooping me into the beer-garden. We'd share a cigarette,

and you'd recite the names of every animal sent to space.



Grace Heyer is an emerging poet from rural New South Wales. She juggles her passion for writing with the care of her 16 month old daughter. She was a winner of 'Heywire' in 2007.
In 2013, she was short-listed for the Radio National/Australian Poetry Slam Wildcard Competition, and this year, she was a finalist in the ABC's Pocketdocs competition.