Amanda Joy: three poems

Making a Meal of it

Flinty incision
The skinning knife, white as a wing
Gestures a bending length, cuffs
the stricken head to dirt

The snake become a carcass, a swan
neck, a short rope. Innards fingered out
Flesh left pink as palms of hands
but softer and coated in spittle

Cauterized by indifferent light, meat still
moving in the enamel bowl. The cooking
fire hisses in spinifex as flies arrive
to blacken the table

Somewhere in the clumped guts
a heart with no fear left in it


Snake Skin, Roe Swamp

Shedding skin of a snake, will
loosen first at the lips, retract
backward over bluing eyes
dull crown, those sorcerous jaws

Resistance is needed, seeking
friction of rock, chafe of grass
scour and scrub of brown balga
it braces its body and slides out

Slipped fishnet of bubble wrap
mingled with a streaky mandala
of divested paperbark, becomes
my discovery, being its past

I tease open a brittle end, puzzle
my arm inside, until it is sheathed
to the elbow, ghost eyes puckering
my skin. My pulse, its unsealed centre

Vestiture of rain spittle in my hair
A cool trickle slides inside my collar
I tear the delicate mesh pulling it off
in what becomes a deluge

God of fragmentation, refusing
to keep things whole, coming
to me later. Showing again that
repetition might simply be
a lack of attention to detail



I was carelessly concealed
belly down on granite, fingers
untangling the slow creek
where it pooled and emptied out

when a shadow loosened itself
into an inky rivering of sheen
and black body

With no one to share the surprise
I closed my eyes and opened them
to find it, mouth to brown surface
swallowing silently, all thirst
and quench

Inexplicable how I wanted to be
that water, touched and soundless

Snake enters the pool, carries her
head above the river’s identical
remake of its likeness. A double
helix of ripples streaming behind

-Amanda Joy


‘Making a Meal of it’, ‘Snake Skin, Roe Swamp’ and ‘Locus’ are published in Amanda Joy’s collection of poetry, Snake Like Charms (UWAP, 2017). They have been republished in Rochford Street Review with the permission of the author.

For more snake inspired poems: ‘Hey Kekulé’, ‘Crunching the Numbers’ and ‘Cohabitation 2’ by Liana Joy Christensen

Amanda Joy photograph by Alex Chapman 2017 cropped jpeg

Amanda Joy. photograph by Josephine Clarke 2017

Amanda Joy was born and raised in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia. Her first full-length book, Snake Like Charms, is part of the UWAP Poetry series. Her poem ‘Tailings’ won the 2016 Peter Porter Poetry Prize. She is the author of two chapbooks, Not Enough to Fold and Orchid Poems.



Snake Like Charms by Amanda Joy, UWAP 2017 was launched by Liana Joy Christensen at Voiceworks, Fremantle on 24 April 2017.

Purchase Snake Like Charms (UWAP, 2017)

This entry was posted in Amanda Joy, Issue 22, poems and tagged , , , , by Zalehah Turner. Bookmark the permalink.

About Zalehah Turner

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based poet, photographer, cultural journalist, and Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review (RSR). Zalehah regularly contributes articles and interviews on poetry, art, film, and new media for RSR and the UTS magazine, Vertigo. Zalehah’s poetry was projected onto the Federation Square Wall in Melbourne as part of the Overload Poetry Festivals, 2008 and 2009; exhibited at Mark and Remark ,107 Projects, Redfern in 2013; and displayed in Alice Springs and Moruya thanks to Australian Poetry Café poets, Laurie May and Janette Dadd respectively. Her poems have been published in Writing Laboratory (2013), Sotto (2013), Social Alternatives (2016), Vertigo (2016, 2017), UTS’s The Empathy Poems Project (2017) and Rochford Street Review (2017). She co-judged the New Shoots Poetry Prizes 2016 alongside, Tamryn Bennett, Artistic Director of The Red Room Company, and published the winning and highly commended poems. Zalehah is currently working on an intermedia poetry collection entitled, 'Critical condition', focused on the interstitial threshold between life and death in medical crises based on personal experience. Zalehah holds a BA in Communication with a major in writing and cultural studies from the University of Technology, Sydney where she continues to pursue pushing the boundaries of multimedia poetry in Honours (Communication- Creative Writing).