A Tally of Desire

When stains are caresses

When every preference is a debate or a need

Wishing to be astray

‘Not for the first time’

The appetite to go hither even if

A stupor of rushed emptiness


Wanting to come in like a stranger

When the wild space of afternoon doesn’t pass

Gossiping at the fence as a scrap of paper floats by

Each old object now strange

When my tongue breaks

When reality lapses like a favour


When waking seems risky as sleep

A trance state between season and accident

Being unable to speak

The five ways night slows down

Even when asleep (especially then)

Everything is tinged violet, every hollow


Zero as possibility . . . .  an arrival


Jill Jones


Jill Jones’ most recent books are A History Of What I’ll Become (UWAP 2020), and Viva the Real (UQP 2018), shortlisted for both the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Poetry and the 2020 Adelaide Festival Awards. With Scots-Australian poet, Alison Flett, she publishes chapbooks through Little Windows Press.

© 2020