Amanda Anastasi – Scratches

Anastasi LE P&W June 2024

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing June 2024.

Scratches, poems by Amanda Anastasi.


Biro marks, instantly recognisable
and intended to be barely legible.

The same feathered bars used in Santa’s
decorative letters punctuated with lively

drawings of bells, flowers and deer,
congratulations on my good grades

and a warning to not fall off the bridge
your metaphor for teenage waywardness.

The same hand on essays I was tasked
with typing on free thinking and the dangers

of blind faith. The very hand notating names
and numbers on paper scraps – misplaced,

uncategorized – of clients and old friends;
one by one, each becoming a stranger again.

In later years, room appeared between
the pen strokes like the parts of a barbed

wire fence pushed out to form a thin
corridor, though never quite wide

enough for the full story to show itself
or to overcome a lifetime of camouflage.

Ways I Said I Love You
Without Saying I Love You

There was a cleaning frenzy in your flat. A sorting and returning of books to your almost bare shelves. The neat placing of pencils and brushes in a mug so you could sit at your desk again. There was a portion of leftover lasagne kept in my freezer until I next saw you. I’d never stick to the shopping list you gave me, adding cashews and olives. Making phone calls for you and joking about the ear violating waiting music while on hold. Telling you the bills were paid and all was well. Asking you how the kitchen got so filthy. Buying you a new calendar with orange and pink scenes of desert plains. Answering the same question you asked me last week about a California town you wanted to visit that you saw in a western once. Fetching you drawing pads and pencils and commissioning a sketch of a bowl of fruit during lockdown. Accompanying you to the GP; refuting your assertion that you were taking your medication daily. Locking eyes with you while the doctor gave you the lecture about would happen if you didn’t take the tablets. Guiding you to a seat in the socially distanced waiting room. Asking you to face me so I could fit your mask properly over your nose. The welling in my chest when you allowed me a tiny window into your inner world, when I brought you home from hospital: Oh, it feels good to be home. A close falling apple, I do not know how to form this emotion into a fitting, coherent response. Proceeding to organise your cupboards, I ask again with a shake in my voice Is there something you want to tell me?

Monostich Poems

My imaginary friend is now visible to all.

I swim in a pool while I dream of the sea.

Inside the cage, another cage.

There was a day I forgot to be cautious.

I falter at the last door.

I walk down an unnamed street.

© Amanda Anastasi

Amanda Anastasi is a Melbourne poet whose work has appeared in unexpected places, from the walls of Artist’s Lane in Windsor to The Massachusetts Review. Her work has been featured in Australian Poetry Journal, Griffith Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Right Now and Best Australian Science Writing 2021 and 2022. Amanda has been the recipient of a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship, where she wrote a series of poems set in the year 2042. She was also a digital Artist in Residence with Assembly of the Future’s The Things We Did Next during COVID-19 lockdown, exploring imagined futures. During her three-year poetry residency at the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (Monash CliComm, 2019-2022), Amanda was tasked with communicating climate change and the 2020 Australian bushfire crisis through poetry. Following this, she was the recipient of a Nielma Sidney Literary Travel Grant from Writer’s Victoria, writing poems at the Great Barrier Reef.  Amanda’s poetry collections are Taking Apart the Bird Trap (Recent Work Press, 2024) and The Inheritors (Black Pepper, 2021).

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