Portrait of Emma Palandra in the CBD, Melbourne, July 2018

By | 1 May 2019

Wearing a fake fur,
her greying hair unwashed,
a T2 bag at her feet,
Emma sits in Self Preservation,
hunched over her iPhone.

She’s still thinking of phoning Eric
now that the bruise below her left eye has faded.

Eric had insisted things will be better
once he got his hands on a gun—
claimed that he’s cased the Lennox Street milk bar
every day for the last month—
the till’s a honeypot,
will bankroll them to Noosa.

But Eric has always been
more puff than progress,
more skateboard than limousine.

Feeling sorry for oneself—
Emma has had years of practice.
She walks through the Treasury Gardens,
sits on a park bench,
tells herself that she’s worth more
than any scavenging pigeon,
will win more from this world
than crumbs and flight.

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