Jas Shenstone

Jas writes short fic­tion, poetry, plays and has just fin­ished her sec­ond novel. Her sto­ries have appeared in var­i­ous jour­nals, includ­ing Ver­ity La where she now reads sub­mis­sions. She lives in Fre­man­tle with her part­ner and dog.





I want to stretch my life onto a long piece of string, con­nected to noth­ing at either end. Every moment which has meant some­thing will be cut and tied back together. I cut the string to sig­nal the heart stop­ping, I tie it back together to show I am still alive. I have to cut it sev­eral times, here for when I realised your beauty, and here again when I realised my love. I’ll cut it when you come back to me, just like I did when you left.


The les­son of love and cigarettes

You tried to teach me how to roll a cig­a­rette; I roll my own now with such ease that I for­get it was you who taught me and only think of it once five years later. I remem­ber sit­ting on your bal­cony, which we peered over in silent agony wait­ing for your girl­friend to arrive. You taught me ill-fated love. You taught me to make you gin and tonic while you begged your mind for any excuse to ask me to leave, and found none, and so I stayed and brought you the gin you drank so well. You taught me the game of love, the notion of win­ning and los­ing, and you were my first loss. You taught me secrets, how to keep them and how to con­fess them at the wrong time. You taught me to swal­low love and burn desire. You taught me the power of a door—once closed—a lover can never enter. You tried to teach me how to roll a cig­a­rette. I roll my own now and think of you, but just this once and not again for another five years.



Sud­denly the night air
laid down its arms
and allowed the cold to take over.  
And as we entered the street
we were struck with the unmov­ing chill
that stood wait­ing on the pave­ment
and out­side win­dows.
Our bod­ies shriv­elled like leaves
and we caught our breath warm in our throats.
At your house the cold was for­got­ten.
The frosted street lamps,
the wet grass,
our frozen breath