The No. 08 Tram
Maureen O’Shaughnessy (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia)
In the seat across, a hand as big as a cabbage
Leafs ‘The Nature of Personal Reality’.
Women with green bags. Students in faded jeans
Pressed into windows framing the slipping houses
Along the streets where they all share
The dismantled beds, the old-fashioned
Stereo that blares revival reggae,
And the shampoo left in the shower.
Between clean fragments, long shadowings of filth
Smudge the shoes and beards and pale faces,
The schoolgirl’s ankles and the baby’s mouth,
And there are always those lank-headed blokes
That pound the beat. Racked. Dry bleached hair,
The late-night players that doze off at each stop and change,
Enviable sharp-heeled posers drifting unhurriedly
Into the next day. Crumpled in the corner
A girl wearing bright pink lipstick
Lays a palm across her eyes and leaves it there.
Maureen’s poems have been included in journals such as Island, Reflections of Melbourne anthology and Blue Dog. She is currently working on a Masters of Creative Writing at UTS.