Amanda Lucas-Frith lives on Wangal land in Sydney’s inner west with her partner and two children. She’s a communications and publishing consultant, and is currently completing the final subjects of a Master of Strategic Communication at UTS. She attended the 2019 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and is a member of Youngstreet Poets. Her poems have appeared in Snorkel and Cordite Poetry Review.



Border Protection

My life in lockdown looks
the same as it did before—
I search for my daughters’
hats, make snacks and play-
dough, and lavish colour
on each letter of the alphabet
just to tickle my tongue
to yellow, lilac, vermillion.

So many ways to make
bright things brighter
now the days close
and open like paper
fortune tellers. I write
to silence the chatterbox
to a single answer
and in this imaginary,

wage my Machiavellian
war against the diminutive
queens that surround me,
nesting between bathroom
walls or fortified around
the cubby house. The pest
control company kept
its social distance and said

they only use natural
chemicals, but at this stage
of the pandemic, I’ve lost
my organic moral advantage
and crave the kind of
annihilation only pesticide
can give. In the face
of diminishing freedom,

it’s curious how much
I desire to tame the dissenting
rattle, to be listened to
and obeyed as the single
absolute power of my
house, not minding at all
the cognitive dissonance
of wanting my daughters to
only do as I say, and never
as I do.


A Bright Room

When you arrived, I snapped
open like a purse and the surgeon

lifted you out, one sleek penny
at a time. He held you

level to his gaze and assessed
you like a rare coin, while a wake

of midwives pressed their fingers
to your mauve flesh.

Your father cut the cord
connecting us and we waited

for your cry in the bright room,
under the theatre light, where nobody

had mouths and every pair of eyes
held mine. I looked up to see,

reflected in the light’s mirror,
a kaleidoscope of myself

separate to my body—a ruby smile
from hip to hip—not mended

but altered by a blanket stitch.
Born again in a sea of sedatives,

I saw you there first: pools of black
gusting the surface to glass.

You arrived as a southerly wind
howling to the bright room,

your squalling cry cooling to my
touch, as I held you skin to skin.