The man

He drank glass after glass of Sierra Mist 
& after crunched the ice – a sound she couldn’t bear 
like the slow grinding of rocks. 
His belly made cavernous creaking sounds 
& then, the drum-skin beat of his heart – 
faster than she’d expected, and very distant. 
When he scratched his knee it sounded hollow. 
His arse felt like seawater against her feet. 

He had the only key

I waited a long time alone on the landing by the door. 
I lay down on the tan painted planks & closed my eyes 
& opened them, & watched the many small leaves of the tree loosen the sky. 
I stood, & then, I hung over myself, stretching my calves. 
With my head down by my feet I noticed a curved leaf: yellow & green 
with a patch of brown. 
I went down to the street & looked down the long sidewalks, 
which were empty. 
Eventually I pulled out the window screen 
& slithered in over the clay turtle whistles onto the bed. 
I husked a cob of corn & boiled it & then ate half. 
& then I cried. 


Emily Dobson is currently the Glen Schaeffer Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She got married, became an aunty and had her first book – a box of bees (VUP, 2005) – published in the space of one exciting month.