2 poems by Beth Spencer


It begins with the interrogation of the magpies 

demanding to know what goes on inside my brain

they pick and play with my dreams

rolling and bouncing down the hallway

claws clicking on marble surfaces

plucking each item out of the laundry basket

hanging upside down from the clothesline

tasting fabric on tongues

searching under furniture

divining the flesh of tiny creatures

scattering bones, threads, dust

seeds, pebbles

translucent wings – 

a trail for the broom 

that comes with waking


It creeps at night on muscular feet out my spine 

down my legs

grasping toes in feral teeth

needle-talons wrap my ankle

a barbed tail whips my legs 

it loves the bell of midnight

digs till it finds a nerve

plays it like a lute

till sparks burst

in my head

with its left hand

it holds flames

to the soles of my feet

– you shingle a roof to protect it

– you shingle a wild mane of hair to free it

I am riding the shingles train

ridden hard to an unknown destination 

the weight of its breath

the sheer      ridiculous


About the contributor

Beth Spencer is poet and writer who lives on Darkinjung land on the NSW Central Coast. Winner of the Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award (2018) for The Age of Fibs, she has published numerous essays and articles. Her books include Vagabondage (UWAP, 2014) and Things in a Glass Box (FIP, 1994). www.bethspencer.com

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