Kate Lilley



The past is awake and stirring
in a black shirred bikini

blinding in a pyschedelic shift
like the picture of a mansion

I’ll give you the benefit and take it back
like the yellow scarf I knitted and unknitted

the fleshy cactus roses
I grew the year I adored you



Beauty was never my friend.
Our birthdays were a year apart.
My roots were one foot in the amusement park
and another in a world of disappointment.
Chance meeting—cigarette lighter—blousy attrition.
See what I mean?
Sift and twist: twist and sift.
In a nutshell success has been non-stop
since the door to the nursery closed.



Kate Lilley teaches at the University of Sydney, Australia. Salt Publications (Cambridge, UK) published her book of poems, Versary, in 2002.