Old Spells | Jane Frank | Issue 3


Fetish of a gull’s bones 

magicked into the dune’s 

morning face


light, hollow, honeycombed 

when I rest it intact 

on the paten 


of my palm, unprepared 

for the swirl of thought 

as shells still 


arrive in the frothy

skirts of a building tide, 

the beach 


a smooth femur of memory 

that exists beyond this

short blink of


fickleness. Bird skull, esoteric 

circles of continuity in sky:

a pale malevolence.


From the photograph of my 

grandmother on this

beach, I have 


no doubt she ponders these 

enigmas, perched rigid, 

hair tied severe 


in a scarf, dark glasses; the

young girl oblivious 

beside her to 


the sea’s charming mercury —

all of us thriving and

foxing at the 


same time in a relentless 

sepia of air and sand,  

flight, feathers, 


partly excavated smiles, old

spells written only in 

wind-etched runes.







Jane Frank is a Brisbane poet inspired by discoveries of the surreal in the everyday and in the historical – unusual juxtapositions – that also draws on her interest, and earlier qualifications, in art history. Her work has most recently been published in Not Very Quiet, Algebra of Owls, The Poets’ Republic, the ‘’truth’ and ‘romance’ editions of Popshot and a strong and beautiful anthology of short fiction and poetry by, and about, women called Heroines (Neo Perennial Press 2018).

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