an old woman’s face with a schoolgirl’s smile,

your words on the page

mean nothing;

as long as your garden glows

yellow and green outside your window

between buildings, lives.

glass chokes the voice on the other side.

thin white hands

ashen dress tight to the neck

collar pinned to skin,

your papers shuffled out of view,

knees held together;

a gaze breathless in the sunny day

dark eyes grip the sky

and secrets that no one wants to know.                            

the tick of your grandfather’s clock                                       

your black-and-white tv                                                                     

and the voices in your head bark

a whirlpool of meaningless sound;

people in glass houses

animals under cover of night

lips sewn together by the railroad

for a paycheck;

spinning voices for the people,

the stupid quiet people.

your brother in a warehouse

stealing chickens with broken feet,

newborn chicks ground into air

while your mother sleeps in silken pyjamas,

and you linger, barefoot,

on the dirt floor of your home.

Lisa Reily is a former literacy consultant, dance director and teacher from Australia. Her poetry has been published in several journals, such as Amaryllis, London Grip, Panoplyzine, Magma Poetry and Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine. You can find out more about Lisa at

Banner Image by Robert Frede Kenter Tweets: @frede_kenter