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 Julieta CALDAS
 THREE poems


Things don’t work out okay in the end.
No kind of evidence points to that.
I was like, you’re wrong.
But you were right, my mind said on the exhale.

When I saw you I thought,
here’s a god,
I think it’s true.

Who told you there was something
you couldn’t do?
They can crystallise kiwifruit.

We’re always inventing new abominations—
a bikini in a snowstorm,
this dirt path lit by my phone torch.

But you know, you’ve been here. 
It was wild! Would be wild, if we were to


What I remember is gnawing at cold chips
the texture of snow, a street
strewn with clean purple chicken bones.
Beleaguered goodbyes when the taxi pulls up.
            Another night killing
two hours between work and whatever.

I log the hours I’ve sat for you,
body jerking with the tracks,
mind failing to wander. I’ve breathed in
the hair of every other person in the city.

            I called from a spectacular
            state-funded arts building
            scanning the low flat fountains
            greasy trays
            disarmed by the smugness
            of a hydroflask on the table
The confessions were overdue,
spurted out thickly. It was done
for a girl in a co-ord whose wet
hair drips on your floor. She was
untethered, violent and cool,
free from these brick-phone snake lines.

It’s possible this was it—
a blowout in Broadwick
St Leon, forgettable walk in the park (low
            spirits, puffer coat tugging at the waist)
the day a sour coffee in someone else’s mouth

My nerves are an ultra-receptive
xylophone for children.
Light knock to this large and
lovely table sets off
such a ringing in my ears.


And as you texted from the steaming train,
The flatness of a time is a myth told to people leaving.
Same as hunger which doesn’t fade but is overtaken.
Everyone always living on without you.

The glow from the frosted glass was implying
it wasn’t all over,
a Sunday could be turned around,
except that the shops were closed &
no milk. Better off to be already
haunting pavestones when
the lamps switched
& the sky became biro on leather.
Our bright, cold room said
someone will see each part of the night,
and if not it comes to the door.

Julieta CALDAS was born in Melbourne. Her poems appear in Visual Verse, amberflora and SPAM zine, amongst others, and her essays in Tribune, Voiceworks and The Line of Best Fit. She won the 2021 Aleph Writing Prize and her pamphlet-in-progress was shortlisted in the 2020 Hollingworth Poetry Prize. She was the Poetry Flagship Fellow for 2021 at the Varuna Writers’ House.


, ‘Discarded #50,’ 2014;
© Anthony Hernandez


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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