Apr '13 23
This morning I was going through a book called The Poetics of Indeterminacy by Marjorie Perloff. One of the chapters was called '"The Space of a Door": Beckett and the Poetry of Absence'.

I wrote the following few lines: 'The space of a door / displaces me / frames a no, / a yes, / a maybe...' and then I left it to finish later.

This evening I went to a most moving launch of a book written by one of my very talented uni colleagues, Kristina Olsson. The extraordinary story is called Boy, Lost; Kristina’s mother lost her baby boy, Peter, when he was snatched by his father from her arms as she sat in a train waiting to leave Cairns. I was privileged to hear Kristina, her sister Sharon and their lost – now found – brother Peter, speak so eloquently and bravely about the secrets, the heartache and ultimately the healing.

Then I came home and finished the poem.

boy, found


The space of a train door
displaces him
frames a no,
a yes,
a maybe,
faces her towards
a terrible symmetry;
safety for them both
was for her
pinned here
on the nearer side of there,
was for her stolen infant
on the further side of her(e).


Decades of tight-lipped memories,
secret sibling absence
a haunting presence
in the hearts of innocents,
waiting patiently.


A lifetime.
A searching.
A file.
A family found.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

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  1. Mike says:

    *Wonderful. This is one for Best Australian Poem 2013.

  2. Jen says:

    *Aw thank you Mike. I don't know about that, I don't know that it does justice to the subject, but maybe I could work on it.

  3. Robert says:

    *This poem is so visceral. I felt like I was there on the train, then stretched across the years and then at the reunion.
    ... Beautiful.

  4. Jen says:

    *Thank you Robert xoxoxo

  5. kristina olsson says:

    *Just what Robert said, Jen. Thank you. More soon. Kris x

  6. Jen says:

    *Thank you Kris.

    I read your book in one long sitting yesterday and was incredibly moved. It was an absolute delight to witness your sensitive telling and beautiful, reflective language. Thank you for sharing your family's painful, powerful story. xo

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