Friendship (Gemma White)

At Meredith we stayed up all night
listening to doof doof cyberpunk music
and I saw you cry for the first time,
at four in the morning
bottle of ice tea and vodka in hand
I saw your real face and something changed.

Back in Melbourne some strange anxiety
compelled me to walk to your house
returning your books Equus, and
Diary of a Schizophrenic Girl,
and a men’s jacket I once borrowed
to walk home in. You said:
‘You can stay here tonight.’

Offered me Lipton and McCain’s fish fingers
and lying on separate single beds,
we shared sleep noises in the night.

In the morning, you said:
‘I have a lion mask for you,’
fetching it out of the cupboard
placing it on the back of my head:

‘Mine is the pig mask, yours is the lion mask.’
As if now some animal pact is made.


Gemma White lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is a painter, poet, editor and founder of Only Words Apart Press. Her work has appeared in Voiceworks, page seventeen, Visible Ink and Award Winning Australian Writing 2011. She writes poems that distill everyday moments in time, infusing them with meaning, sometimes adding a touch of the surreal or imaginary.