Michelle Cahill

Michelle Cahill’s short story collection Letter to Pessoa  won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writing.The Herring Lass is her most recent poetry collection. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, Meanjin, Island, Antipodes, Best Australian Poems and the Forward Book of Poetry, 2018. She co-edited Contemporary Asian Australian Poets with Adam Aitken and Kim Cheng Boey, and Vagabond’s deciBels3 with Dimitra Harvey. With Professor Wenche Ommundsen she was a University of Wollongong conference delegate at Wuhan University’s 2017 ‘China: One Belt, One Road.’


Forbidden City?

Morning is shuttered and we are like dormant fireflies
at the river’s edge, pale sky, the dainty fruit of miniature
orange blossom—say I’m not banished, then block me.
Texting isn’t my dialect tho I want your revolving heart.
And how little I would want to lose the scent of your hair
brushing fingertips with a Princess from the provinces.
Confess I have been using Express VPN; it’s pretty good.
You said Shakira’s ‘Don’t Bother’ wasn’t your type.
You definitely have a love-hate relationship with my body.
The river is a dark filigree in moonlight; the library at
the Pavilion of Literary Profundity has black, watery tiles.
All the other roofs are yellow, but how green is the Prince?
Night vendors of silk-worm cocoons and sea horse kebabs
take cash or WeChat credit, opium poppies blousy the lake.
Jian bing for brekky; soy ‘n egg-smeared coriander flakes.
They crackle, gag, feet bound, legs tied back, the sous-chef
in the galley is masked, serving mussels, steamed oysters.
After thin-wheeled bicycles, pink southern lychees, a court
seals the probate, painted fan, calligraphy of sweet lies.