White Noise (Beth Spencer)

Verity La Heightened Talk

those clouds I could
almost    touch
and the tickety-tick of
talk at ten-thousand
‘tea? tea? tea?’
the steward mows down the aisle
spoons clinking    paper on screens
a new coal mine    the boats pushed back
we tuck in our    elbows and knees
mind our business
hurtle on    in stillness
until the signs:
‘fasten seat belts’
and the earth    draws us back
‘more heat!’    the weather predicts
‘nothing to worry about!’    the captain calls
we shuffle
and fiddle
grab up our possessions
note    exits
for descent

Beth Spencer
is the author of Vagabondage (UWAP), The Party of Life (Flying Islands), How to Conceive of a Girl (Random House) and Things in a Glass Box (FIP). A selection of her ABC-Radio National sound and text pieces – including a feature on Poetica – were collected on the double CD, Body of Words (dogmedia). Her awards include the Age Short Story Award, runner up for the Steele Rudd, the inaugural Dinny O’Hearn Fellowship, a Varuna Writers Fellowship, and several Literature Board fellowships from the Australia Council. She also has a PhD on ‘The Body as Fiction/Fiction as a Way of Thinking’ and a website at www.bethspencer.com.