Ruins of the nurses’ home 1931
lost dog, patent leather kitten heels, cashmere coats
cloche hats, nyloned calves accustomed to hills
They’ve returned to see where they used to sleep,
formally yet sensibly dressed, paused on a slope
at what they hope is a safe distance.
felled trellis, windows whole in a portion of wall
a dust-shrunk sun, pale pupil staring over
Rectangles and squares have gone trapezia
or broken into unrecognisable triangles.
Surprisingly quiet today — just subtle creaks,
rolling tarmac mangling tram tracks, turf
swollen like one side of a bad cake
odd whines from their sniffing companion.
No need to say a thing, just feel the unseasonable
breeze, breathe it in, live lightly off each rise and fall.
roof shingles on a drunken angle and god
knows what beneath that concrete, no
525 times the three will be moved against their will.
This is a strange minute in which they are still, needing
to stop and watch more than their skills are needed.
pulse, they hope, watches ticking against breasts
shadows trembling over the levelled ‘Nice of the Pacific’
AMY BROWN was born in 1984 in Hastings. She now lives in Melbourne and teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne, where she completed a PhD in 2012. Her first collection of poems, The Propaganda Poster Girl, was shortlisted for the Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry at the 2009 New Zealand Book Awards. Last year, her contemporary epic poem titled The Odour of Sanctity was published by Victoria University Press. Amy is also the author of ‘Pony Tales,’ a quartet of children’s novels published by HarperCollins.