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23.5.18 California

overnight train
from Oakland to Portland
from midnight in dim-lit industrial neverwheres
and four halting pickups
to picking up speed,
waking up after two hours to see
the half-moon hanging golden
over some unknowable landscape
trees like dark holes cut out of the night
and occasional flashes
of unshaped water.
Traversing this place
where maybe it is always dark
and the shape of things will always
just be hinted.
This is the passing-through.
Sleeping strangers
and the moon now backlighting
a dirty cloud
over occasional bright
diners & gas stations
never surprised
eternal in themselves
unchanging Americana
in between these unknowable
dark landscapes
and the red-lit train crossings.



I wake up and
my body feels like half a body.
Lying naked on my side,
I see myself in two dimensions.
Pink paper doll.
If I rolled over I’d expose the space
of something missing,
half a body
empty, hollow,
like a stage set building
elaborate on one side
exposed beams on the other.
Here’s the plywood prop
holding up my lung.
Here’s the ways
I spend my days
doing my best to fill the space,
determined to feel whole
on my own
but it’s too late;

my body is just half a body.


I recline, and glow

with the knowledge of you

as the moon rises

reflecting the sun


My first year in Melbourne
I spent mostly in Hobart.
Two grandparents required my presence at their funerals.
And my heart held a year-long wake
for a love it wasn’t sure was dead.
(It breathes still.)

I learn again and again
how we don’t know that we are sleeping
until we wake up.
Every day now I am yawning and stretching
into something that feels more like being alive.

And that let-go love breathes quietly
in the corner of my mind,
keeping me company in my lonely moments
with its eternal sleeping beauty.

I carry your absence

I carry the weight of your absence.
Some days I get lighter as I learn
acceptance of what is, learn
the tao of letting things be
but still
as I dance and smile
I carry the weight of your absence.

it’s a small but heavy little ache
a smooth round stone sitting in my chest
heavy sighs come thick
attempt to dislodge
this stone I yet still love to carry

i love you
and I am gifted
small moments of pearly joy and
jewelled taste,
the moments I see you & smile
together, touch & feel
the miracle of how we move together

and when with words we
find some new depth
of understanding,
some richness of real
another layer cleared away
there is movement finally,
I feel the breeze, fresh air
on my skin like at home

but it is so long in between
from a running source
our waters slow,
become still
the air is stale

I carry the weight of your absence
sitting stonelike and still
unmoving & unchanging.
Caught in limbo we
cannot move forward
cannot step back
a slow distance grows and even
as we learn acceptance even
as we become calmer
this stagnancy drowns us slowly

my life grows, takes root, blossoms
comes alive around it
but this one seed
at the heart of it all
containing a waiting universe
sits dormant
remains quiet
I carry it inside me
I carry the weight of your absence
and our sleeping love story



the streetlight sends
venetian stripes
across my belly.
I am full in this warmth,
button by button
fasten the deep red nightshirt
(the last fingers
to undo them
were yours)
feel the softness of the silk
where your skin should be,
against mine.

night sighs and settles.
on my mind, the repeating record
of your mouth
and seeking eyes.
your weight on the bed beside me,
your hand around my wrist.

the night is warm.
or is it just
your touch, the memory
against my skin.


do I unsettle you?
his eyes in place of dark stars
oil on the water –
it’s time to stop running.

October ’11



This blog is the collection of my poetry and prose, in chronological order from most recent to oldest.

Constructive critique is actively encouraged!

I am usually singing words as well as writing them, and make lots of other art. You can find me & my other art at any of the below links. x





All content on this blog © Rebecca Tilley, 2003-present