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To touch the crisp bright space drawn out of the toccata

where thought resonates with the chiming of clear bells


that sharpen openness, certainty elusive but willing

in the quiet drip and slide of brackish water beneath


reedy grass and scrub, unstoppable in our time horizon.

The start of winter’s turning in the golden scent of those


flowers; toccare, to touch the revolving figures: chilled

fingers, light less guarded, walls that contemplate relinquishing


coldness. Hand-snipped bunches held tight with rubber bands,

the cut blossoms restive in vases, in the grip. High windows


that fill with rounded clouds of beaten egg white, a half-turn

into longer days under the fingers’ deftness at the keyboard.


Illustration by Lotte Smith

Jane Gibian is a poet and librarian at the State Library, whose new collection of poetry is Beneath the Tree Line (Giramondo, 2021). Her work has been anthologised most recently in Contemporary Australian Poetry (Puncher and Wattman) and Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry (Hunter).

Lotte Smith is a printmaker, illustrator and mural artist who creates surreal representations of lived experiences.

This poem appears in Openbook Winter 2021.