Michelle Cahill



Unseasonal fever of orchids:: rose,
vanilla, cigar, the perfume disturbs me.
In the hothouse I can barely breathe
but crouching low my hairpins loosen.
I finger the dormant sex, a yellow puff,
a tiny cloud:: of something so delicate.



For Tegan

Your hand floats like a spell
weaving hair and bra strings.
Little mouth your smile is a gift,
your beating legs are shadow wings.
Once you were the size of a date.
I remember your kick, a snake
recoiling inside. How we crossed
the dry bones of a river, slept with
hunters and flies in the damp sleeves
of a forest. Little compass,
little star, we followed a glacier

to the mouth of a ragged sea.
I was sick from the smell of detergent,
kerosene and resinous leaves.
Nails in my breast, the heat thick as glue.
Time stretched, my tranquilliser,
before you came.

The moon transfigured by a gamble.



Michelle Cahill is a Sydney poet. Her first collection The Accidental Cage will be launched later this year by Interactive Press as Best First Book 2006. Visit her website: www.ipoz.biz/titles/ac.htm. The poem ‘Moonchild’ takes its imagery from the Hollyford Trek in NZ’s South Island, which she walked during her pregnancy.