POEMS by Amanda Ballen

Sleeping Patterns

By the time I awake,
I am already alone for the day.
I find your body as a comma,
a linen emboss of man,
plaster of paris-cast in your
sheets of smooth sleep.
So Sandman-crusty.

The bed holds no more of me
than bitsy ditto marks, creased tracks
from my sliced up night of
newborn time


Eulogy to a Garden Snail

The garden snail as noble knowledge-seeker.
How much it must record with such snugness to the earth,
a body’s naked fondling of the braille of garden soil,
slow-suckling of suburban walls, euphoric excretions
of savouring still-time, of silent molluscked tai chi.
Maintaining such sensitive peristalsis over
lawnmower vibrato, the manic buzz
of bees to flower.

Data stored as mucus maps
that fancy shell of Tiger’s Eye
a smoky wooded library
a canister of microscopic details
a promising shield for a life of wisdom
crypt of slow-knowing,

splintered in a second
by the weight of the rubber sole of a speedy
foot. A plastic sneaker,
home from a long day of yapping and

POEM: The testator


My father was a lowly man in the village, he was
A shepherd; he looked after a rancher’s cattle
for a living, he fed them well for many years
yet he never had even pigeon on his name

An ordinary man who spent every penny
he earned to raise his children, today we sat
around the table listening to the testator

In his legal will he states, that
I shall only inherit his greyish winter coat
and his blue leather shoes
They are both old and worn
and this is how my father spent his life.
His best and worst days were grey and blue
And I’m afraid to dress in my father’s tears

POEM: The Army


In the nineteen eighties
father was conscripted
and geared up in green,
before the bans were lifted.

I asked, just a child,
“how come you were an army guy,
and now you’re just a normal guy?”
and rolled my car at whiles.

POEM: The tree behind Botticelli


It is undoubtedly the same man,
the boy become more himself,
less planned, outlined, and designed for the scene and sincerer.
His eyes are darker, heavier, and wise with destiny.
His hair is less and less defined, it flows from his face
and gives a different meaning to the now unturned face.
The buoyant boychild Botticelli, no longer throttled in gold,
is grown into a man, robed, slightly rugged, but ready.
Behind him no longer some other man of note
but full strokes, merged with the whole
and a rich green scrawl of a tree.