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2 poems by Jennifer Harrison


The gardenia is dying

leaves yellowing flowers shrivelling –

to be exact I didn’t know how too much

love might kill unknowingly

in a single day

mottled brown leaves

falling in brickish blanket drifts

beyond what I’d meant to salve –

truce no longer possible

I sweep the dead into plastic bags

my soul’s errors and miscalculations . . .

all the young branches stripped . . .

I’m falling through summer’s

eddies of doubt – budless –

in a chasm of lost purpose

o come to me o garden

there will be no more love –

no more summation of love ≠ love –

we’ll gaze over the fence together

where nothing knows what we are


To be solitary

after the dishes have been dried and put away

news tuned to a blank screen

the text of a book blurring into wavering signs –

take shadows – they hold only

night’s stunned ghosts

dishevelling sleep with beckoning shipwrecks

a shoreline’s incessant voices . . .

faint surprise – that some so young

have passed through the bead curtain

fringed with macrame and synthetic lace

man-made and frail –

time passes as if metronomic

each brief day and night

smaller than before – each presence becoming absence

each day unutterably new yet unaltered


Jennifer Harrison is an Australian poet. She has published eight collections and her ninth Sideshow History will appear in 2023 from Melbourne’s Black Pepper. She has work forthcoming in the Australian Poetry Anthology and was featured in Best of Australian Poems 2022. Among other prizes she has received the 2012 Christopher Brennan Award for sustained contribution to Australian poetry.


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