Contemporary Australian Poetry.

Metal Fume Fever by Rose Hartley

Rapunzel’s Hair; Some Other Uses by Chloe Wilson

Newlywed

by Nathanael O'Reilly

 

For Tricia

 

During our first year together, we moved

into the first of three apartments in Texas,

between the highway and the railway,

where we lay listening to oil rumble past

in the night bound for gulf coast refineries.

 

Your bike was stolen from its resting place

near the dumpster by a Taco Bell worker

who strapped a radio to the frame and rode

it blatantly around town. We walked

across the highway to the video store

where they knew our names and stopped

at the Fina for chips and six-packs of Shiner.

 

We drove to the County Court House to obtain

our marriage license. The civil ceremony

was conducted business-like with co-workers

as witnesses in the county clerk’s office,

an empty coke can on the officiant’s desk,

a portrait of a SWAT team on the wall.

 

We played cards on Thursday nights

in a single-wide trailer with friends,

beer, cigars and Stevie Ray. We drove

to Shreveport to play the loosest slots

in Louisiana, gorge at the buffet.

 

We spent weekends in Austin

and San Antonio lounging by pools,

washed down fajitas with margaritas.

On Friday nights we watched your students

play football under lights. On Sundays,

we played Pac-Man at the Laundromat.

On sultry summer evenings

we swam naked in the lake.

Nathanael O’Reilly was born in Warrnambool & raised in Ballarat, Brisbane and Shepparton; he now resides in Texas. He is the author of Distance (2014) and the chapbooks Suburban Exile (2011) and Symptoms of Homesickness (2010), all published by Picaro Press. He is the recipient of an Emerging Writers Grant from the Australia Council. Over one hundred of his poems have appeared in journals & anthologies around the world, including Antipodes, Australian Love Poems, Blackmail Press, Cordite, fourW, LiNQ, Mascara, Postcolonial Text, Prosopisia, Red River Review, Snorkel, Social Alternatives, Tincture, Transnational Literature, Verity La and Windmills.