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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