Poem

Maxine Beneba Clarke
The monsters are out

the monsters are out

and the women of melbourne
             we're leaving early again

sending are you home? texts glancing
over shivering shoulders keeping
friends on the line until
the key’s in the lock

oh sisters
              we forgot

jill had only just got off a safe-call
eurydice texted to say she was almost home
masa went out for a walk and
              and well
aya
              she caught
the bundoora tram home

so here we are
             holding vigil again

two-dollar-a-pack-at-coles
tea light candles
              flame flickering
rage-high
shoulder to shoulder
             bleeding
against the sobbing
summer light

but most of the monsters
have the same face as our sleeping
four-year-olds

the monsters gave us valentines

some of the monsters
have the other key card
to our shared bank account

the monsters are out
the monsters are out


and oh how we flame
              against the sobbing
summer light

but when we're done mourning

some of us go home
             to die

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of The Hate Race and Foreign Soil. She is a winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.