Elizabeth Allen



All day they have been drawing me back
to the kitchen table: a crossword question
I keep returning to, the answer just beyond

my tongue. I have been trying to find
their meaning: what they hold & signify,
what they expect & tell. What they can

know of me & what they can’t. Only
now that evening is coming in have I
tired of this frenzy & decided to let them

be flowers: cream lilies, red carnations,
white daisies, purple orchids & others
I do not know the names for, so cannot

show you. An odd jarring of colour in
a basket, like seeing yourself reflected
from many angles at once; the constancy

of body temperature, dry humour, wit,
gathered in together like friendships;

some about to open & some, almost:



it is only now
that it darts     across
your peripheral
like a small
black cat

it has been waiting
for you     all along
arching its back

you can’t approach
it directly

any sudden
and all you will be
left with
is a dull machine
telling you

the USB mass
storage device
can now safely
be removed
from the system



Elizabeth Allen is a Sydney poet and bookseller. She also works for Vagabond Press and is undertaking a Masters of Teaching (Primary) at the University of Sydney part-time. She is the author of Forgetful Hands (Vagabond Press, 2005) and body language (forthcoming in 2012).