Anne Elvey – Just After Dusk

Profile Elvey LEP&W ANZ May 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021
Special edition featuring poets from Australia & New Zealand.

Anne Elvey is a poet, editor and researcher, living on Boon Wurrung Country in bayside Melbourne (Naarm). Her poetry publications include On arrivals of breath (2019), White on White (2018) and Kin (2014). Obligations of voice is forthcoming from Recent Work Press in 2021. From 2014 to 2020, she was Managing Editor of Plumwood Mountain journal. Her most recently scholarly work is Reading the Magnificat in Australia: Unsettling Engagements (Sheffield Phoenix Press 2020). She is currently working on a volume Reading with Earth: Contributions of the New Materialism for an Ecological Feminist Hermeneutics to be published by Bloomsbury T&T Clark in 2022. Anne holds honorary appointments at Monash University and University of Divinity, Melbourne.

Just after dusk

A fortnight past solstice we walk out
from cool into damp – the end

of a working-day. We leave
umbrellas at home in fall so fine

it does not rate even as mizzle
while we talk again of all we take

as granted. Mist turns to rain.
Streetlights blur through barest

slant picked out by glow. There’s
a filmic feel as if Gene Kelly

tapped. We hurry then toward dry
warmed by theft and shorn soil. Our

wool is hardly wet to touch
when we arrive, turn the heater

on and settle to the task of making
everyday relation of a meal. Contained

by virus we are children who
one night absorbed each other

in a parented state when we felt snug
and cared for, if not quite understood.


Nectar gives depth
to the bite in

a corpus
neither violet nor red. Not

blood either, though
the pelican’s puncture to feed comes

to mind
because of fruit unexpectedly

good. The gloss of vocation
on the mouth

is, after all, a question
of texture.

Mat(t)er birthing speech

after Julia Kristeva

Into the space of separation
flesh spills with vernix from

the breach. Scent of scalp
announces the new. Into this

between, the possibility of tongues
opens to an original sin

of sign’s unsaying. What if
the break & repair of language

turned to leaf? From the base
of trunk’s becoming a thing

a child can never be, to
the spread of limbs, the plant

converts sun to fare to
breath, again and again,

so that, winged, a tree is
a corpus producing song.

© Anne Elvey