Milling about the city’s nightlife,
she threads through the quilted crowd
who rug themselves up, flattering
each others’ leathers and wispy flair.
She stands on the fringe like a lost
strand of hair listening to the needles,
the knit-knot words, the pinning-up of
phrases — cottoning on to their lingo.
She’s ready to be brushed aside
when some guy’s quip poufs her up
like a pillow, and she responds by
chewing a ball of fluff because, for
some fuzzy reason, she wants his hide.
sewing what’s left of her heart to
her sleeve — a threadbare cliché that
his quiff-like puns pierce like
a pin-cushion. With conversation
wearing thin, his hand reaching for
her velvet, she remembers the lint
piling up in the corners of her
apartment; the frayed curtains she’s
never closed on her view of the city.
She can see it now from her bedroom
window: the silhouetted skyline, a
tattered hem; the stars, little white
cross-stitches forming a sky of blind
eyes; and rolling over Centrepoint,
the moon, a silver ball of wool,
(previously published on the Red Room, 2010, and
in Best Australian Poems 2011, ed. John Tranter)