from Issue #2: Poetry by Tessa Lunney

Photo (CC) Colin @ Flickr

Photo (CC) Colin @ Flickr


Your love is a blood red stone

My heart beats in this blood red
stone. This stone, rolled
by the oceans for aeons,
from the depths of the ocean’s
soul, rolled over and over
from Indian to Atlantic to Pacific
to Old Bar Beach, this shore.
This blood red stone rolls
to my toes as I tread the tide line.
This blood red stone, so smooth,
so sure, so absolute, it rolls
sure into my palm. It sits
whole on my tongue, in my
mouth, so simple and pure.
It tastes of salt and centuries,
of love and blood-iron
and memories. It’s heavy and firm
with home. My heart beats
in this blood red stone, beats here,
this stone, this shore.


We built our fires on the beach
(a letter to a friend who first showed me poetry)           

We built our fires on the beach
when you were nineteen and missed
your man in the rain (he said
he thought of you with great affection, still)
Pain slid over your skin and puddled
in your hips but you stamped your spine
with ink and declared

Who pays any attention
to the syntax of things

Tea and toast was manna, and the golden ratio
echoed in your father’s words,
in the rain’s roof-top jazz.
The world fizzed and popped
it expanded like a nightmare
like a grail
and still you declared

And kisses are a better fate
than wisdom

but wisdom came anyway.
Paper dolls and pewter earrings
adorned a life lived head-first,
heart-first, when Spring is in the world
There was spring-life in your step, my Goddess of Small Things,
and each raindrop (you said in smiles)
holds a world, hear it sing
hear it sing
and you declared

And I think death is no parenthesis



Tessa Lunney has recently completed a creative doctorate at the University of Western Sydney. She examined silences in contemporary Australian war fiction and wrote a novel as the bulk of her dissertation. She has had her poetry, fiction and reviews published in Southerly, Mascara, Illumina, Phoenix, and Hermes, among others, as well as the inaugural issue of Contrappasso. She works as an editorial assistant at Southerly. She lives in Sydney, and dreams of Elsewhere.

Tessa’s poem “We built our fires on the beach” quotes “since feeling is first” by e.e. cummings.