No Shelter (Andy Jackson)

Floating home from a poetry reading, fog and who I am
closing in as I walk forward, I am still visible.

A mostly full stubbie of beer, VB I suspect,
thrown from a slow car, swoops over my shoulder.

Fear hits. The Commodore’s brakes
light up. Now it’s just us

and the possums, lost at the foot of these trees
ringed with metallic bands.

Running is an invitation, standing still the truth
a hovering fist can’t see. I might think myself

an Aboriginal boy in Townsville, a single mum
in a rough pub, or myself in a school bus, ten again —

another’s hands perched on the seat ahead,
I wait as his prey, no shelter in the flesh. Tears

are slow scratches down a pale face. We are strong
when we hold it all in. Here is where men come from,

and return. One body must open like a gift —
all that’s left, the memory of what it was like

to be alone, a taste on the tongue like salt.


You’ll find ‘No Shelter’ in Andy Jackson’s new collection of poetry, Among the Regularswhich is available at Collected Works, Readings Carlton, Red Wheelbarrow (in East Brunswick), Brunswick Bound, or in any ‘good’ bookshop.