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2021 Joy Chambers & Reg Grundy Awards Open Age Poetry

2021 Picture Ipswich Awards – Open Age

2021 Broderick Family Awards – 14-17 Years

To Be a Moth in a Butterfly Garden by Syazwani Saifudin (1st Place)

Crying at the Nail Salon by Josie Minz (2nd Place)

family portrait carved in wood by Syazwani Saifudin (3rd Place)

riptide by Portia Claire Hoole (Highly Commended)

waves twitch and scream, thrashing against the concrete shore. I know
we aren’t meant to survive the storm. you’re all wrong for me. I’ve accepted that.
I really don’t need the seagulls to point it out.

silence is not a docile creature. it mouths at my shoelaces, clamps
slavering hot jaws to my ankles – and when the tide rushes in and grasps
with greedy violence at my knees, I swear I can hear you breathing from
ten
stories
down.

cars snarl down the road in slow motion
bitumen glistening fluid smooth under the blistering lights of their artificial glares
frantic white eyes searching, whirling
hungry, tearing pieces of my dizzy body from the burning night
and when I clench my fists, bring trembling hands to my skull
my skin splits under the pressure. I barely even feel it.

another set of tires rips through the ocean’s still surface
and I’ll admit, I find a trace of you hiding in the reflections on the windscreen

because you’re everywhere, everywhere
in orange peels and the scent of rain,
in the lavender growing bright and lovely in the bookstore driveway

and this current is everywhere, everywhere
in every sideways glance and on these unforgiving steps,
searing hot behind the flimsy barrier of my least favourite coffee mug

and I often wish that I could leave both the sunrise and the sunset behind
but they’re a part of me too –
pressing their frail lips to my eyelids as I
drown.

(but in the morning
though I spend most midnights licking crimson from my bloody knuckles
I’ll be glad you can sleep
always
swept up in the rise and fall of your fragile chest
as mine strains against the silver thread
woven by your delicate surgeon’s hands as you worked to mend
skin
tendons
ribs – and I know you’ve written something there
something I always search for when my life turns indigo.
I wish I could read your handwriting.)

I’d never fall for a saint and
I know you love to disobey but
could you pretend to be a merciful god?

show me that quiet grace
laugh diamonds into hazy air
glance fitfully at our divine ceiling and tell me
a storm’s rolling in
(and I know, I feel it, tumbling over the sea where
water turns frenzied turns furious)
press me to your side and drape your jacket over my shoulders and
shelter me from the waves as
Zeus’ hands spread damp and grey
across their horizon.

please be gentle with me, love.
I’m not as wise as I want to be and
I’m not strong enough to fight like this
but I know I’d brawl every night
if I could waste every sunrise watching you sleep.

grey. the water is grey now, and as dawn trembles, unfolds its paper wings
my fingertips breach the surface – and then I’m gasping
greedy for air, hungry for sleep, coughing cherry syrup from empty ribs

and silence swells around me
tinted peach-rose-crimson by the new light
shattering off dew-slick flowers on the other side of the road
and when the waves rush out, wailing, clinging to my wasted body
I let them claim a different victim, throw our ugly porcelain to the vicious tide

twice I’ll dodge the frantic hungry eyes bleeding white smoke onto the highway
to pinch a piece of you between my fingertips, carry it up, up, up
past the front steps where I’ve spent nights laying bruised-cheek-to-stained-pavement
and when I reach my alter I’ll take a quiet moment
to lace perfumed thread through your hair (as you once stitched together my skin)
and rest lavender’s bare stems on the bedside table.

don’t turn to me as I close the curtains
and don’t stir as I hide behind my eyelids
please let me listen
(a little impatient, a little greedy, always)
to the honey-sweet river kept tame, rushing in, rushing out, playing
in the safety of your ribcage
the force of a

new

current consuming me completely.

Ambedo Street by Sarah Campbell (Highly Commended)

listen by Syazwani Saifudin (Highly Commended)

Her by Grace Lloyd (Highly Commended)

Little Blue by Katelyn Fanlagan (Highly Commended)

Our Sacred Land by Amaeh Reed (Highly Commended)

Tempest by Melody Cherrie (Highly Commended)

2021 Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Award – 11-13 years

2021 River 94.9 Award – 8-10 Years