Contemporary Australian Poetry

after The Secret Garden by Carolyn Abbs

the war by Mark Roberts


by Andy Jackson


Three days after he was born,

I knew for sure. It was over

one of those interminable cups of tea.


The midwife cooed ooh hasn't he

got long fingers? and I burst

into tears. He has what I have.


My only regret now is

what he must have heard me say.

Oh he's so tall for two – a real pain


as if his body was a shameful mistake.

Strangers assume I'm anorexic, give me

that look. To Rufus, too. A nurse


demanded to know if I was feeding him.

My father, a red-haired boy with spectacles

in wartime Middlesbrough, was told to eff off


back to Auschwitz. When my sister and I

were kids, it was Ethiopia. What would you

say a serious handicap is?  How we look,


our thin bodies?  The sheer possibility

of premature death? Or this here

choice to give birth to someone like me?

Andy Jackson's collection of poems Among the regulars was shortlisted for the 2011 Kenneth Slessor Prize. A new collection the thin bridge won the Whitmore Press Manuscript Prize and was released in 2014. Immune Systems (poems and ghazals on India and medical tourism) is due out in 2015 through Transit Lounge. He has Marfan Syndrome, and writes about the poetry of unusual bodies at