Jan Price

Closing Time

You will look up
from your love story
as if you were called
discreetly by name;
you’ll hold your breath
listening to that waiter
that waitress in the echo
clean kitchen – no
their murmuring rhythms
imply flirtation.
You’ll question
the silhouette man
at the far table half in
half out of his newspaper – no
his back is facing you.

You’ll check your watch
…still a few minutes.

You will look down
but the page of your love story
glares cold – so cold
the words have lost weight
in the final chapter.
You’ll reach for your coffee –
swallow its isolation.

But now through the window
a eulogy of grey light drips
soothing a rapture of fog-yellow
falling leaf by leaf
each to its death.

You’re unable to voice
why you weep
but in your bones you hear
the rustling of wreaths
the kneeling of poets.

• • •

The Familiar of Geese

There’s a country
road I take sometimes
in the damp season
when colours are richer wet,
and earth-scents of old
gum-nuts, last summer’s grasses,
pungent toadstools on mossy logs
and leaves undressing their flesh
fill me with sensuous freedom;
the only intruder
gravel under tyres. It’s then
I have to stop,
down-wind the window,
realize it’s the same spot
on a grey bridge
of years ago when first I heard
the creek below
quietly babbling.
But winter wash had not appeared
so my breathing stopped to listen.
At first only splot splot to mulch
fell surplus mist from leaves and a crow
rising on slow black flaps,
feather caressing taffeta feather
enhanced the hush. Suddenly again
the babbling
like children laughing
as the sun broke through
in a paddock just beyond
the remnants of a briar-tangled gate,
its rays silvering roof-iron
offered impression of weatherboard and window,
rings on a water tank and a track,
and on the track – three children laughing,
waving long sticks as once I did
guiding geese
hissing flapping honking their disagreement.

The sun withdrew the scene faded.

I still come down-wind the window
and wait…

• • •


Jan Price loves entering literary competitions, both in Australia and overseas and enjoys the occasional win. She was invited to be Guest Poet by Paul Grover, editor of the international journal, Studio where she has also had her artwork accepted for the journal’s covers. She has been published in Poetica Christi, Plumwood Mountain, Women’s Work, The Mozzie, Snapping Twig, Stepping Stones, Time of Singing and more. Jan leaves her poetry in cafes, and railway stations and lives in Victoria, Australia.