City Of Women



by Michael Botur



Me and you: smitten in an instant.

Pot luck conversation takin-over-the-table invasion.

Footsies; squeezed knees; creaking settee, not watchin’ TV.

A yawn. An arched arm.

Tiny when unrobed, all ribs and shiver and grin

and winces, winked hints. Next: rants, scratched back,

excessive texts, inexplicable. Best filed under X.


Another you was blown through my winter university.

In a stolen Holden choice with oi oi boys in bombers and braces

with crates of Speights, singlets, boots and stinkin armpits.

You, the caring clean-up type, someone’s chubby sis,

while the guys packed knives you carried toothpaste in a suitcase

A maid made to roll smokes, fix the guys fish ‘n chips in kitchens.

You were too much delicacy for the china shop bull in me.

You, tagged and released discretely.


You again. This time: upstanding, respected, speccy, all Ph.D.

seen as clean, anti-nicotine

opposed to dried cow hide; pro-Greens, acupuncture,

wheatgrass juice, sushi.

Still, you secreted demons, distress, disease

your shrink said to wean off the Venlafaxine.

You screamed for a week, then weaned off me.


You (number 23) shouldn’t have been

(a manager with MYOB and framed degrees,

all heels and meetings)

we were just old bros

Thrown in the same guest bed

Woozy with booze, ceiling spinning,

Tickling, ankles slithering,

sandpaper hands sawing pubic mons,

nibbled neck, panting panicked as an asthma attack.

At dawn your daughter opened the door a crack

So I gapped.


I’d spend library nights scribbling furiously, filling up 1B5 diaries

Making notes on a composite chick built of

perfect bits, a Frankenstein Bride.

In Welly, an air hostess one flying night

was my last feed of human drive-thru

I chewed, wiped my lips,

Then there was you.