Little and New Ways

Fen Carter

And in the morning when I wake,

I go down to the river reflecting

a white-pink sky, and wash my hands

until they burn. You held these hands

once, and traced every indent, every

small sinew along my wrist. You

breathed life back into them.

You knew these hands once.

And I am trying very hard

 to find new ones.


There’s rosemary on every corner

of my street and a vigil of cats

as I welcome other people over for tea.

We have breakfast in the hall, eating

from makeshift tables

made of cushions so that we can watch

the sunrise. And really see it.

“These are new patterns.”

I tell myself this.


I sleep fitfully, scratching at my

skin and resolve to bare my neck,

bright and tender, to the first set of

eyes I find.

“It’s a dare,” I tell myself.

“I really mean it.”


All these stories make up a life.

Photographs of lemon trees and spiders

against the midmorning blue.

Sealed letters in open drawers and

roses drying in their vases. Fragments

of memories, of proud trophies that

decorate my house and keep me safe –

But you are where I cannot reach.

And I can’t seem to carve you out.


And in the night-morning I go down

to the river, which is a bathroom,

which is an overbleached sink under a

mirror that keeps asking me why

I didn’t stay. My soul and your memory

dance as a pin-prick beneath my ribs.

When I try to sleep, again, each time,

you lay your head on my pillow

and whisper,

“Try again.”

I doubt at times I ever really had.

Author: Fen Carter is a writer of poetry, plays, screenplays, books, and is occasionally a podcast host. They are never found without a cup of tea in their hand and a fountain pen in their hair.

Artist: Nicole Jacobsen is a Brisbane artist, writer, poet, and aspiring editor who regularly finds herself re-befuddled by the difference between who and whom. Her background in Psychology emerges through character studies, obsessive bouts of self-reflection, and recurrent themes of mental health in her work.