A Tuesday with Two Heads
(Jayne Fenton Keane)

Last Letter

At arm’s length. A letter in a frying pan. A smoking Dear John. Slap on meat, pour over cognac, watch the veal flare. The next day a doctor rolls up your sleeve and injects you with charcoal. When you wake, the anger is a pain that travels inside the shadow that drives for eleven hours in snow just to feel innocent again. Inside your head, a crash. No turning back. Only memory and the soft outline of her body next to you, before sunrise – her breath in your ear. Now your pen is compass and locket. Handwriting tentative and fleeting. I am sorry I have not been in touch but I was too busy missing you.

Weber-Fechner’s Law*
or the unbearable magnitude of subjective sensations

Neruda says that what flies in him is manifest.

A black condor on a silk kite
an inky and scalloped commination
for pigeons with notes to finders
and keepers branding their legs.

The sky marbled blackly
ash, tar, made in China.
Spillage the mission,
predators caught between coos.
Some birds just can’t sing.

The cockatoo fears the kookaburra.
King parrots flee from a lorikeet’s red eye.
Above, the currawong imitates
the feline call of a human baby.
An olive python threads diamonds
along the moonlit sinew of a branch.

I, who never learned to fly
fears the kite’s great height
and the expectation
that possessing wings
would gift the capacity for flight.

* Weber-Fechner’s Law suggests that the magnitude of a subjective sensation increases proportional to the logarithm of the stimulus intensity.

A Tuesday with Two Heads

| One

a knot in a tree above the path to my door          | common birdsongs
gramophone beneath a light green veil       | a hungry ear

a wet bird           | an old photograph
lies about happiness                                    | an ageing satellite flares upon re-entry.

Overhead a streak of phosphorous.

| Two

limply hung, a cable       | overhead, a tree tangled in copper
birdsongs common           | off the gramophone a green veil slips

the cocked ear of a wet bird | your sepia smile in old photographs
cobalt woos a satellite’s dissolving metal | broad sand hitches to tides

your pupil, barbiturate and sunny | shadows starkly stretch, oxidize.


Jayne Fenton Keane is a poet whose work has been extensively published in print, radio, digital, performance, sound and visual mediums. Her published poetry collections include ‘Torn’, ‘Ophelia’s Codpiece’ and ‘The Transparent Lung’. Jayne’s practice reflects an ongoing interest in exploring and experimenting with language. She was shortlisted for the Griffith University Medal for her doctorate in poetics. As for the photo — this is all I have to hand at the moment because I’m overseas.