Bedding, poetry by Sandra Renew


when I was courting I went for
white sheets         heavy cotton 
doonah cover          pillow cases           all white          all matching               ‘a set’
hospital corners    sheet turned down    spray of flowers      chocolate  
very Home and Garden     very Women’s Weekly     

the object of my courting didn’t notice 
bed at her place a random collection of quilts, doonahs, mismatched blankets, eiderdowns, discarded hoodies         a dog’s breakfast       so to speak    in fact, a dog’s bed with dog treasures cached under the pillows and heavy wafts of dog in the random rucks of unmade sheets
looking temporary     as if        she’s only staying a short while   even in her own space 
one morning she and the dog will wake under a hedge      in a sleeping fug of body warmth some place          on their way            to another bed


my mother had little love for cardigans, no access to pearls, no fashionista furs 

sometimes, coiled around her neck, she wore a plaited leather stock-whip used for moving the bulls, some lengths of bailing twine or fencing wire to make necessary repairs
when we rode out to check the traps

curse of rabbits
skins stripped inside out
their soft, soft fur

Year of the Rat (Triolet) 

My best friend’s a rat because 
it’s all I’m wanting now…

Just to be clear — I’m not thinking Rattus rattus, that black-coated, black-hearted ratting out, snitching, authority informing, telling on, sinking ship jumping, or just jumping-ship-when-the-wind-turns rat, cunning as a dunny-rat rat, old world-disease-sharing, Ratsak-attracting rat, inspiration for innovative rodent control solutions.

No, I do not give a rat’s arse for Rattus rattus.

It’s my Fussy, Rattus fuscipes, who does it for me, besties forever. Rounded, softest ears, chubby, fade-into-the-background grey, not cunning or too clever for her own good, but still, a quick thinker and successful, an indigenous survivor. She appears like a shadow at falling dark, slips up the veranda from her burrow near the step footing. Never demanding, reliable, a companionable foraging in the garden or under the outdoor table.  We both thrill when she finds nectar, we both look away when her messy eating leaves traces of husks and pods—

My best friend’s a rat, because 
it’s all I’m wanting now. 
Life was full, it’s been and gone, it was!  
My best friend’s rat because, 
when we hold paws,  
this holding comforts me. Somehow, 
my best friend’s a rat, because 
it’s all I’m wanting now. 

Rhyme scheme words taken from David Anthony Passing through the woods.
Rattus fuscipes: Native bush rat

How dare you (Triolet)

How dare you continue to look away.
Change is coming whether you like it or not.
I refuse to believe you are evil, but I say
how dare you continue to look away,
your empty words fail us, politics hold sway.
The science is clear. My future is not.
How dare you continue to look away.
Change is coming whether you like it or not.

Note: Constructed from extracts and paraphrases from speech of Climate activist Greta Thunberg (2019 UN Climate action summit, New York)

Red Boots (Triolet)
strutting the floor in her flash red boots
thumbs in her belt, she’s the line-dance queen
she’s a mover, she’s a shaker, she’s getting all the looks
strutting the floor in her flash red boots
she’s high on the swing and the sweat, hips loose
dust rising on the stamp of a hundred Cuban heels
strutting the floor in her flash red boots
thumbs in her belt, she’s the line-dance queen

About the contributor

Sandra’s ongoing project is the interrogation of gender presentation and the LGBTIQAA gender discourses. Her poetry comments on contemporary issues and questions including war, language, environment, climate and the planet’s health, translation, border crossings, dissent, gender. Her work is informed by many years working in war zones, in Indigenous communities and on the fringes of heterosexuality. She has recently been published in Shuffle: An Anthology of Microlit, edited by Cassandra Atherton, (Spineless Wonders), 2019 and was a finalist for the 2018 joanne burns Microlit Award Australian Poetry Journal 2019

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