The Need for Poetry, by Mindy Gill with Jeet Thayil

Mindy Gill is a Brisbane writer whose work has appeared in Australian Poetry Journal, Voiceworks, Hecate and elsewhere. She writes for Peril Magazine.

This poem first appeared in Issue Seventeen of Tincture Journal. Please support our work by buying a copy.

is old, very old, though not venerable. Imagine

a picture of an old man, his shirt open,

his big belly full of pork and rice wine,

asleep on the road, scars all over him, his hands

for a pillow, imagine the untended whiskers

on his face, his staff thrown some distance away,

not yet stolen, his dirty feet, now imagine

the moon above the man, the chaos it bestows

on the ocean, which could pluck it like a pear

from the sky in one cold metallic wave,

and in that wave imagine the fish discovering

the myth of the other world, a world not preserved

by salt for air, without the elegance of jellyfish,

and here is where they realise how our sky

begins with black while theirs begins with light,

now imagine our sky sliced from a bigger sky,

a universal sky, tiger-striped with planets

and space stations, now imagine the scientists

on those space stations using equations to find us

another, gentler star to call home, and what

are homes but places to keep things we love

that we destroy and leave? Now imagine

the man who drew the picture, who waits

for the old brawler to awake so he can tell

another one, a quick story to start the day.