Anne Elvey’s poems have appeared in Antipodes, Cordite, Eureka Street, Eremos, Meanjin, PAN, and Salt Lick Quarterly. In 2008, her work was placed first in the page seventeen poetry competition and highly commended in the Max Harris Poetry Award. Her research in ecocriticism and biblical studies is supported by Melbourne College of Divinity and the Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Monash University. Anne lives in Coburg, Victoria.




Love’s ghost


The egret’s poised

on a platform

of silt. While it seems

she walks on water,


she wades knee

deep, with grace to

impale the soul.

She is the sign


for a clef

between treble and bass –

not yet invented –

or perhaps above,


a body that is reeds’

song, that

when she alights is

more than air. She


hangs her plumes

on sky’s stave:

score for the orches-

tra between us. And


she breathes there,

knows other

things, but

(like you and me)


does not know

what takes flight

when you raise your

hand for silence.


Paperbark, Ashgrove


Dense with tenderness your layered skin is ragged

as if torn by an ancestral scribe

and laid tuck against tuck against trunk,

the innocent flesh shed and held –

like a word you might say about yourself –

as wind breathes against your weeping delicate leaves

that eat the light.


Your body drinks

and deep inside remakes the soil and sun.

So two crows call that you have called them here

and your wood’s joy

at their impertinence


in peels of flesh.


Is it strip me you say?

Or do colonial eyes see paper where flesh is?

Did your shedding call older hands to ochre?

What is this breath that lifts like a curtain

your lanceolate leaves

where each one’s caress

pierces the space it defines?