The Gentle Art of Releasing (Janette Dadd)

Verity La Clozapine Clinic — The Frater Project, Poetry

(Edited by Alise Blayney & Tim Heffernan)


You’re in my dreams now.
I can’t get rid of you.
​​​​Your smell lingers on my nostril hair.

After seventeen weeks
​​​​it was mostly bones the fisherman found —
​​​​bones visited by scavengers.

At night I breathe you in
while waves arch above me,
​​​​their fine spray freezing me to the marrow.

Early Frosts

In raw weather what keeps you warm?
How do you deny the chill of knowing?

One phone call
and the chill curled
like a millipede inside her.

No rain; early frosts; him gone.

She wondered —
had he become one of the hollow people who sleep
under leaves and barter all the nothing they have
for a chance to escape from a world they no longer choose?

Her winter skin itched under coverings
like mites had bored in,
taking up lodgings.

Seventeen weeks she waited
while under her mime of living
she scratched herself raw.
Through bitter winter to spring she walked
towards the confirming thaw.

It came.
His winter skin
had shrivelled and flaked away
in fierce mourning winds,
bleached of blush, smile, laughter, fears,
leaving just stained rocks and jigsaw
bones to piece together.

The Gentle Art of Releasing

Tears we did not invite or even notice
salt our lips and tongue.

We cry privately in some corner
of a home, hospital, jail cell,
boarding school or boat taking us away
from family and country.
No public display, just tears.

We don’t wail our loss,
berate our enemy.
Even friends grow tired of that;
or fearful, not knowing what to do.

So we learn the gentle art and practise it
in sunny lounge rooms, bland hotels,
bleached shacks on a desert’s edge,
refugee camps with bodies
pressed close together.

Janette Dadd has had two books published with Gininderra Press, Early Frosts in 2013 and Eve’s Tears in 2000.  Her work has appeared in the Five Islands Press anthologies The Best Poems of January 2006 and Voices from the Meadow, and in the Poets Union anthologies Sun and Sleet and Prismatics. Janette is a strong advocate for the poetic voice, facilitating Poets in the Vineyard over a number of years and organizing the Poetry Slam for the River of Art Festival. She has also been an Australian Poetry Café Poet and had work published in their member’s anthology.