circular quay

A shortlisted piece in the Fiction section of the Honi Soit Writing Competition 2021.


but it was just a detail or two, just a box of flour at the store,
just the barber’s name, the watch on her wrist, to brush her teeth,
the anniversary or so, that she’d eaten lunch and asked for breakfast,
her husband’s face her child’s name,
the mirror’s glimpse


on the train again.
but as she, the champion of her creaking
and the custodian of her cane,
manoeuvred the dusty train seat
knees. hips. back.
her neck strained
back to converse, first time or so since the mailman Monday.
but the carriage stopped!
sterling flew out from and back into her neck.
locket. open. smile.
to the peonies in the garden outside or the seat to her right she looked at once
and saw her Child or saw her stop. and saw the box of flour
or the pale off cream and verdant blobs steam out their tops
and sails sounded like Pavarotti and a toothbrush
her throat was sore and her lips chap—
pedalling through the alps friends hiking each week
endless love hot cocoa warmth smiles with her part
nervous on exchange a summer in texas she’d learned span
ishmael was the protagonist of her favourite book what was it Mo
by the sea she had attended teacher’s college—
“get the opal card ready”.
tap. ding. green.


he guided her hand to the card reader, as he’d done before.
married for as long as he could remember. far longer than she could.
and they were back


her memories were home, just not in her house