ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Tony Beyer

Memory babe

the spare room is full
of my daughter’s dead dresses
laid out on the bed to air
exhaling the dried saliva of childhood

some of them may also be seen in use
in photographs in the albums
others were for special occasions
I have forgotten

neither she nor I has children now
small enough to inherit them
or would want to
given their styles

she is nearly at an age to prefer them
kept in her house instead of mine
her mother nearly
ready to let them go



flies in the fishermen’s houses
know there’ll be fresh scales
on boots outside at dusk
for them to finger
with the tips of angular limbs

lamplight yellow as lemons
falls through the door
into the yard where
collapsed nets bleached
by the sea await mending

at the kitchen table beer
bread and pungent cheese
white fillets of the day’s
catch softly broiled
and children’s dull spoons

a hand embossed with
ice burns rope scars
curled around a smeared glass
lowers it from bearded lips
unaccustomed to talk

there are still places set
and empty chairs
for those the sea has taken
whose names are mentioned
only infrequently

Tony Beyer writes in Taranaki, New Zealand. His print titles include Dream Boat: selected poems (HeadworX) and Anchor Stone (Cold Hub Press).

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