i still haven’t got my breath back

A prose poem of “found fragments”, compiled by Julia Prendergast in homage to Swinburne student readings: ‘Tell me’ / Sudden Writing Spoken Word Event, 13 April 2022.


I don’t understand you and I don’t wish to

She wanted to paint him… her brush swelled with paint

…wet paint in sunlight

Yet here I am… both the abductor and the abductee

I was finally made of stardust

Into the void… my reflection is nothing

Squirm and struggle

The glimmering thin sense of the 21st century

Then there were the books – there were the books

Give me a second to think… when I’m thinking I walk… when I’m stressed, I run…

I’ve lied…

If I date you… how did you get that scar on your elbow?

Tell me all of it. Tell me your 3am feelings.

Your sister – the nice troubled one…

I don’t ever want to leave this room

It was cold and we were chest to chest. Rocks and twigs.

I sobbed as bits of me were dragged under water

An invitation to intertwine hands – for so long I had to wait for you to return

Watch me walk – I’m not moving anymore

The leaves make a different sound when they’re dry… That crackling skittering sound

I’m not in a cave, though sometimes I wish that I was… That’s what happens in what you think is your world… I live down, down below

The boys tumbled out of the sea

She looks back at the road and thinks very briefly of her own blood

More important than any of those, it’s her favourite sound… she taught me to find beauty in the mundane

The most important thing for us was honesty and communication

You baffle me.


Photo by Noah Black on Unsplash.



by Aisha Noorani 


Language, perhaps, is not merely the endless attachment of letters to letters, and words to words. Perhaps, it is all and everything that can evoke something in you and me, or I and we. Perhaps, words allow the enslaved to be free,

the differences to finally agree,

the blind to see,

the hurt to be healed slowly,

the lost to find life’s precious key,

the silenced to witness an answer to their plea,

the friends to disagree,

the minds to develop progressively,

the hearts to flutter and flee,

the unjust to hear the final decree,

the broken to not be,

the people to live liberally,

and all that happens with the letters a to z.



Photo by Patrick Tomasso on unsplash.

dear sister


by Zoe Sorenson


Your plants are still here.

I guess that’s kinda obvious

since you couldn’t really fit multiple potted plants

(or stupid kid-brothers)

in the one duffel bag you packed when

you decided to leave forever.


Still, you loved them so much.

I kinda figured that, if anything, you’d

come back for them.

I don’t understand how you could

leave them behind.


You gave so much of yourself to

the things you loved—

your attention and care

became their own kind of magic.

Now would be a really good time

for you to use those superpowers of yours

to reappear

and the plants can be happy again.


It’s only been a little while since you left,

but already they’re starting to wilt.

I don’t know if it’s ’cause of

the time that’s passed,

or if they somehow know that you’re gone.

Maybe they’re just

grieving in the way they know best.


I’ve tried so hard to help.

I’ve tried so hard to keep alive

the one thing left of you.

But nothing I do is enough and

I’m going to lose them just like

I lost you so please

just come home. I need you

to fix it like you always do.


Your flowers miss you.

I miss you.

I want my big sister back.




Image by Yulia YasBe on shuttertsock.



By Deanne Elizabeth


And to you, this seems polished.

All that glitters, all I touch is gold.

But in the words of Paul Valéry:

‘I have failed to please my soul.’


Photo by Simi Iluyomade on Unsplash

in between the tragedies and vanities, we’ve got each other


By Manaswi Dawadi Rimal

I might seem distant.
Not just through the mountains and oceans between us, but also through the fog of my mood swings while I drown in the pool of my insecurities.
My overthinking, like a colony of ants following each other, threatens to overtake me.
But I got you.

I am me and you are you.
I won’t let the ‘me’ of myself let you feel any less the ‘you’ of  yours.
I won’t let you feel how distant we are, because we are not. Not in the ways that matter.

I am in your heart.
When you randomly smile in the middle of your hectic day.
I am in your mind.
When you cry in the middle of the night because you miss me.
I am crawling through your soul in your morning coffee as you sip it, along with the jokes I made about how I would get into you the way coffee would.
I am distant, but I am still with you, in your heart, in your mind, and in your soul.

It’s because of all of this, that I am able to let go of  you, and let you go.
But love and poetry isn’t all there is, because while you are you and I am me, we’ve still got this world to survive.

Love and poetry isn’t all there is, if we only see practically, but poetry is everything to both you and me. So maybe I will write a masterpiece of tragedies, and you will carve the tears and vanities into words, which the world will admire.
And we will break. Or not.

It doesn’t seem practical, but we are not practical beings, and we’ve got letters and postcards and phone calls and origamis and art and poetry.
Maybe we’ll recreate our own world, where I’ve got you no matter what and you’ve got me. Not like we own each other, but constant.
Like a heartbeat.
And the way we’ve got each other.


Photo by Andrew Ly on Unsplash

the universe was never as cruel as the moment it woke me up


by Eli Rooke


The cosmos forged me a new body

and I was finally made of stardust.

Constellations traced along my scars,

and the sun warmed me to my bones.

The galaxy embraced me, and it was love.

I held myself, and it was love.


The sky turned dark, as stars

suddenly fell from their places.

I became a shooting star,

and I was falling.

I was burning.


I held and clutched

at the warmth still blessed to my skin.

But in a moment of burning ash, I was awake.

I was back in skin, stretched tight over my soul

and back in breaths, caught in cages.

My body was cold.


–  The universe was never as cruel as the moment it woke me up.


About Eli Rooke:

Eli Rooke is a non-binary entity who enjoys writing queer stories, with a particular focus on trans journeys and experiences. They can usually be found playing god with original worlds and characters. Eli has a passion for collaborative storytelling, and believes the best stories are the ones created with others.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels