Judith Bishop has published poems in The Iowa Review, Quarterly West, Heat, and the Oxford Book of Modern Australian Verse (ed. Peter Porter).

Voices of antipodes

The skywriter fallen,
a slick of lightning foraged in the stars
for his remains.

The road foreclosed, as of dawn.

Had his body crept ashore
in its abandonment to dusk,
as we spoke, was a south wind savaging his chest?

Boats abided on the tides,
near brother and diminished!
Mouths opened on the many.

Then we heard
what dissipates in the silence
of response.


There was this: a procession of cloudbands wind skated
over, causing each to align and separate, marching
souled toward a horizontal merger. Flying shibboleths
between us for the tree without a name, we lay apart
under skies white poppies wouldn't scent.

From a bridge late afternoon, planks and
        goosewire iron to one side and below: you
        and young creekwater were resolute, lark-eyed
        trajectories, establishing yourselves between
        stone and shone; tripping with the progress of
        the world's non-progression; and breaching

Then I came upon you guarding the peace of another,
her white-walled departure. Now her face, beside the
sea: at one remove, but what: a glass inscrutable,
lucid; an only, an ever tenebrae.

Induce a weed's eye view of underwater furling
        under. The desire we seeded, we see has come
        to this: water twice trodden in while dawdling

        on the surface grew at last toward our own
        shape, slowly green-mantling the stones we had

        crossed: now waxing uneasy, beaten back by

That your ear – that flesh – is radiant, a second dawn
emerging, moving into cold trees: that we mourn the
dispersion of our saturnine rings.

Bearing lame words which cannot leave the
        bruised path, nor leap apart to bite a fig
        from a branch with the curvature of clouds,
        on a sharp strung morning: glass embittered
        over days unasked for, thus unanswered.

An incessant, fire-white and brackish pair of cockles,
having once grown fitted to disparate flesh, is
detached; darkdrifted; and gathered at the last.

Sub modo


what remains to be told: a blue campanula
your wax & flare beneath the soles of my child
air tangling    her legs: I
heard the moon    crash down the vines /    for what she yelped
: kill the thief!    your words were taken out

and smoked