DISTANT LOVER, Emiline Barnett

The sun set early that night;

The moon crawled out of its melancholy slumber –

A cold and lonesome torture,

To cast its silvery glow across the lake.

The sullen wind at its side tormenting drooping branches –

A plaything for the gale.

He emerges from the water;

Dripping with delight.

She sits upon the hill,

Beside the heavy oak tree.

Although she was waiting on him,

She had hoped he would not come.

Still in a soaking three-piece-suit –

Just as she had left him –

Face down in the lake.

She sees a glimpse of hope;

That he may still be the man she loved.

He floats to her, shuddering in the breeze.

She hums an unsettling lullaby as he approaches,

He listens and watches her with eyes that undress;

She withdraws her dripping shawl.

He sits beside her with newfound hunger.

Droplets slide between two pert breasts;

Twisted lips licked,

As her chest is made bare.

He’s searching for affection,

Overcome with lust,

Reminded of another time;

Where everything was perfectly pure and good,

When he did not need her touch to remind him what it felt like to be alive.

Pining for a love lost like a wreck in the sea.

For all his memories are in vain,

His worship lingers in her mind;

Curious whether she continues to fill the whole in his heart.

She desires to be known by him still,

And would die to be loved by him, still.

The rain returns with a sombre melody,

Hands find one another between blades of grass,

Lips crash together between breathy moans.

Naked and divine –

Tense under his cold touch.

He makes her feel something;

Lost in the fantasy of love possibly rescued.

Transcendentalist; boundless and surpassing.

Touching her heart of craving desire.

He knows what she needs is not what she wants,

Seeing the reflection of another in her eyes,

Yet he is as vulnerable as her – taking comfort in each other.

Marvellous moans of dissatisfaction.

It is as if it happens in an instant,

Feelings made bare as skin exposed;

It is no longer what they want, it is what they need.

She believes in a love she thinks she deserves,

What does she deserve?

If he cannot have her,

No one else should.

Tormented by corrupt sentiment,

Undressed with piercing eyes and wet fingertips.

A devilish thought creeps as hands wander.

She is not pure, and that, he cannot change.

An inevitable downfall transpires;

Troublesome and unsavoury.

Dear distant lover,

Is God always watching?

How does the embrace differ –

From the damp ground to a touch felt distant?

Eyes lock together…


Mustn’t one be afraid?

A force so strange she cannot withstand.

Fingers intertwined with amber hair,

Palms gripping the maw.

She set passion free for she has followed him to this spot –

What shall prevail from this?

Leave her as she is, so young and unsought?

Their love was made to last was it not?

A tightening grip.

A fragile feeling;

A shaky last breath.

Infatuated, he stands silent.

Not a word from above.

He picks up her limp body with a toothy grin.

He carries her down to the water from which he rose,

(A ragdoll in his tight grip)

And saunters in so quietly.

Distance was not desired,

Now distance does not exist.

Emiline Barnett is a young, Sydney based poet and writer with a passion for romance and psychological thrillers. She currently studies English and Creative Writing at Macquarie University, indulging in sports and video games in her free time. With a captivation for the morally grey, Emiline aspires to immerse others in the beauty, and the ugliness, within literature.


The crunch of pages and the scratch

of the pen against my brain.

A piece chips off, and is born:


Method and mode for her

and I to become us.

Made in my image,

under your watch.

I’m judge, jury,

executioner and accused.

Working by your captious light,

we fear to tread the unbeaten path.

One stone out of place,

the titan chews

and spits up his son

like gum that’s lost its flavour.

For my penance I lash the whip

on her back and feel

the sting in my writing hand.

The synchronal strikes spur me on.

Let me justify my means, I’m almost done

I promise.

She and I,

our ribbons tangle and blow away –

to be unseen and forgotten

(we pray), hand in hand,

pen to paper.

My fingers clutch the rim of the ship.

Charybdis, censorious,

swirls and spits and seethes.

Both hands full, Scylla before me.

She takes her place,

and offers the whip.

I’m contradictory,

and I have a stainless history.

The skeletons don’t clatter

when I have guests over –

we have an agreement, you see,

gravely written in secrecy.


To be limited to oneself

is a horror I’d wish on (n)one,

but in the shelter of fiction

I’ll shoulder the guilt,

until I’ve made something worthy

of the standards you’ve set.

Scylla stops in her scene,

frozen by a shiver that turns her head

to the chill, a pause.

My touch on her shoulder

she can’t feel the warmth

or her mirrored fingers at my neck.

I’m a wraith to these pages

and I’m the only one there.

Clamping my head in place

and boring holes in the paper,

trembling at the canyons between

each letter that spans the sea.

It’s a pretty reflection

of Claude’s world.

Don’t lean so close,

it’s bad for the eyes.

I’m under the microscope

and I’m looking in

but we’re both just strokes.

I step closer,

head to the canvas

and marvel at the atoms.

So three cheers to authors

who haunt their narrative

and four for those who’ve

left theirs behind.

I’m on my way

and I know the road.

Mia Koch is a Canadian-born Australian writer who definitely loves to put words on paper and doesn’t dread it all. They have been Long-listed for the Future Leaders Prize in 2022 for poetry.


There is a creature caged in my ribs.

It carves curses into prison bars of bone

for every instance there appears a nuisance: a taste

too poisonous for its deadly diet, or even a dish much-loved could

send it spewing! This volatile varmint

demands a volcanic outlet, and I cannot let it

shame and shape me again into no man’s island!

Oh please, let me be heeded:

don’t beg and grovel! Else, bed and shovel will be needed.

I know it is unsightly to be seen harbouring such a monster,

and they will tell me so, always. When I hear this thing has port-docked,

I must run and hide behind the door,

raise the anchor high to beat the creature down— Just kill it

choke it quickly quietly come now

sit encircled by waters still and silent,  

unwilling to welcome my waves upon their peninsulas pristine.

Peace and quiet falls and stifles

troubles trivial.

My plate tectonic

shifts beneath others and buckles under the weight, unstable.

Peas with dinner.

Not my favourite. Metal claws squash through soft flesh to

clink-clatter-TWANG upon crockery

scraaaaaaape against my ears with laughter, filthy canines chewing in their loudmouths.


Vibrations ripple the beast’s blood flooding the floor

of my artery chambers—oh lord, it lives still! Be still!


It roars inside and mauls my ears, building walls with brick-red blood, cell by cell

beating furiously against the pressure—

‘don’t ignore me!

With those words it crawls it wrathful way up and out of my mouth and


The parasite speaks over me, vaulting over my tongue:

‘here’s what you wanted!’

Little pearls floored by my fists

green bloodied fingernails, lava spewed across the table

talons rake the earth and stoneware

acid rainfalls lining grooves in my cheeks

ashen casts of faces caught in the pyroclastic surge.

Guttural glue hot garroting and burning me inside out,

the steam blinds me as I scream.

The judges’ gavel falls faster than my fists

upon the plate CRACK, cutting edge judgement follows:

I am too much for anyone to bear beyond myself.

Do so now, send the dog back out, quietly, quickly, go to your room,


And so this creature’s wails become whines become whimpers wept shamefully pleading

‘hold me’.

These are childish reactions in their infant-sized enormity—

but my claws comply with contempt

compression upon my skull. Oh, thought, your absence is noted

only when you return!

When did you desert us?

Or, did I, you?

No, do not retract these talons now

that the moon is high and fully frames them as mine. Its light what glistens upon my gashes

spotlights the source for me to reciprocate

my suffering upon it. Suffocate it

quickly, quietly. To me acquiesce and listen

for once

when I say they never will for us in this tantrum state.

A flood of guilty and ugly conscience rises—

with every hatchet buried in my chest,

I unearth another.

Giorgia Woolley is an autistic poet and writer who can find a song to suit every possible occasion. She spends her time writing experimental poetry pieces exploring things that are important to her: the preservation of information, neurodivergency, her emotions, and people being kind to each other.