Louise McKenna

Louise McKenna was born in the UK where she com­pleted a joint hon­ours degree in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture and French.  Her first poetry col­lec­tion was A Les­son in Being Mor­tal (Wake­field Press 2010).  She is co-editor of Fly­ing Kites, the Friendly Street Reader 36, (Wake­field Press 2012).  Her work has appeared in Poet­rix and Eureka Street.  Her work also fea­tures in Light and Glo­rie, an anthol­ogy of South Aus­tralian poetry forth­com­ing from Pantaenus.



With a rush of water

he reels the fish in,
light glanc­ing off 

the tes­sel­la­tion of mir­rors
on its wet piscine skin. 

In a flash he glimpses his son
writhing in a shawl of amnion, 

his wife beg­ging for oxy­gen
in her river of blood. 

He unhooks the fish’s plead­ing mouth,
spills it over the bank 

where the cur­rent swal­lows it
like a bolus of grief. 

Beneath the menis­cus
of his breath­ing world 

the barb still hangs,
trails the air.


A Walk in the Post Natal Woods

A thatch of branches and fir cones
drains the sky, sieves nuggets of light. 

In this moth-silent twi­light
mush­rooms flourish, 

feed­ing on shadow.
Or blackberries, 

sticky as blood clots.
I must carry my baby 

from this bed of stone
with its lichen and moss, 

its grave­yard pati­nas.
Some­thing malevolent 

waits deep in the bole
of that tree. 

I’ve heard these woods
are full of bears and witches. 

I’m an easy tar­get—
Gre­tel with­out Hansel 

look­ing for exits
that appear and vanish 

like holo­grams I tell the mid­wife.
In her eyes I see her shak­ing her head.


“With A Rush of Water“, was pub­lished in the Friendly Street anthology