Hannah James

a telephone is ringing,

a two-beat toll dancing through the street—

the call for another. he is holding up his end,

his face is blank, his stance still, his body silent:

emulating modesty, but there is still the horror

gathering in his eyes, transfixed on the single point

and the continuous plea, amplified in the beat

echoing for the people scrubbing dishes rough,

gathering the dust on their surfaces in a pile

to throw away

I need you immediately


another peers out their window as they prepare

she doesn’t hear him when he comes in, he may

take off his shoes or tiptoe quietly

on the flight, so as not to wake her

either way he is being cunning

(this only ever ends one way)

but she lets him crawl into the warm position

behind her turned, oblivious head, her eyes forced shut

look how easy it is to stay


another wakes just slightly

not quite a woman, not quite a girl

as naïve as the latter,

as resolute as the former,

in floral sheets, she hides, crying over people

she couldn’t have a chance of running into

on the street—people she would plaster on a wide grin for,

unaffected as a by-standing tree—and then she melts

into the dark wood of the floorboards,

chasing a shadow, something once tangible

morphed with the distance, the only vision

clouded like midnight’s hand on her windowpane,

she weeps and mumbles, forgets who or why

but underneath it all somewhere

isn’t it nice to dream


a telephone is ringing,

a toll dancing through the street.

Author: Hannah is a Creative Writing and Law student at QUT. She enjoys unravelling the human experience in all its wonderful and frustrating complexity through fiction and poetry.

Artist: Yongzheng Wang is a visual arts student from China, currently studying at QUT and living in Brisbane, specialising in traditional painting such as classical oil painting and academic sketching. While studying art in China, he won a first prize in landscape drawing in institute. He is fluent in Chinese, French, English and Italian and has a good knowledge of Western art theory.

Editors: Willow Ward and Hannah Vesey