Ainslee Meredith

Ainslee Mered­ith is a poet, edi­tor and stu­dent from Mel­bourne. Her poetry has been pub­lished in var­i­ous places, includ­ing Going Down Swing­ing, Southerly, har­vest, and Voice­works. In 2011, she won the John Mar­den Prize for Young Aus­tralian Writ­ers (Poetry). Her first col­lec­tion will be pub­lished by Express Media and Aus­tralian Poetry in 2013.

 

 

Fallen Woman 

The clear­est night is still unlit
when she calls, so closely,
on the tele­phone nobody watched;

salt­wa­ter and snow-water
fire-break the cause­way, send
patina torches up

like false churches. The dream
is an ante­lope
hit to the side of the road

by a car going to swamp
for fuel. A way to ascen­sion, this
hold on my head you have even as 

I walk from South Hero
to your hotel on the game
road, forg­ing breaths 

solid as oncom­ing eyes.
Anna: a man fol­lowed me
because I was alone and lost 

my right to choose between men,
or to not choose at all.
But the tide is low:

I am clear to cross
with my hands in my pock­ets,
bent over under the full moon.

 

Mau­vais livres

Once there was a girl and she
was a lad­der
inside a grand­fa­ther clock.
On her spine
a book­plate read À L’INDEX
as in ‘Brother Léon for­bids this one.’
She had a date in the grand library,
but walk­ing down Saint-Denis
the sea shone through her
brass escape­ment, its words
of surety: Messrs      Lon­don c.   

She could stand all night
on a grave­yard shift 

out­side the Cinéma ’quoise,
unfaith­ful let­ters in
dead-cold hands, defin­ing
those spent images – a risen
mass, clock­wise, a lost
war, 5 a.m. doorstep, a child
born to a woman and a bear,
cusped sleep. After all, the librarian 

won, hid her in the inner pocket
of his wooden over­coat. Like that,
a pil­low­case for quiet hands.