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Holding on

The morning is screaming and lurching like the one-

engine plane. When it looped the large sand

island, I couldn’t bear to look down

at the forest pock-


below. Nothing but a surging and a thrashing which

I imagined to be the world shaking itself free

of us. We were ice cubes in a tipping

tumbler. Motherhood has

only one

engine. When our contract was first written, I still

believed in the clearness of crystal and that

love was a shockproof seal. Your skate-

board is a mirage at the corner

but I see

every pedantic detail in the fretwork of the smug

suburban houses. No idea when I’ll be back

is in a coil of fear that licks the winter

air in your wake. On my shelf is

a picture

of you at five offering a flower for me to hold.

Jane Frank’s latest chapbook is Wide River (Calanthe Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared most recently in Westerly, Plumwood Mountain, StylusLit, Shearsman, Burrow, Meridian, Social Alternatives, Grieve vol 9 (Hunter Writers Centre, 2021), Not Very Quiet: The Anthology (Recent Work Press, 2021), Poetry for the Planet (Litoria Press, 2021) and The Incompleteness Book II (Recent Work Press, 2021). She was recently shortlisted for both The Newcastle Poetry Prize 2021 and Takahe’s Monica Taylor Poetry Prize 2021. In March 2021, Jane was a Feature Poet at StAnza International Poetry Festival (St. Andrews, Scotland). Originally from the Fraser Coast region, Jane now lives in Brisbane and teaches in Humanities at Griffith University. Read more of her work at and

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