This week from the Poet Laureates of Melbourne
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Emilie Collyer

I call oncology
nervous like I
might waste their time
but the nurse is kind
says yes get it checked
an ache in the calf
risk of clots from
Tamoxifen is real the
            breast cancer was real
            I shave my legs with
jitter hands
kind of stupid
as if the sonographer
will care          
in the waiting room
breathe slow
into my mask
feel for the reception
            staff who have to
            wear them all day
on the news
a white organiser
of the Sydney BLM
protest is arrested
acknowledges that his body
his skin will protect him
the family
of David Dungay Jr
            who grieve
            without justice
are interviewed
they appreciate the
air time but also ask:
‘where have you been
for the last four
and a half years’
the white host says:
‘noted’ the way
            a student might
            take a correction
slight word
for the weight
of corpus
that needs healing
the danger of a clot
is that it might break away
lodge in lungs
or brain
            blood in the wrong shape
            and place can kill
I am lucky today
my body attended
cool gel
pressed on flesh
no evidence
of deep vein mass
something else is
causing the ache
            expert eyes scour
            for threats beneath the skin

Emilie Collyer is a writer living in Melbourne’s west, on Wurundjeri land, where she writes across and between poetry, plays and prose. Her poetry manuscript Womanish received a 2020 Varuna Publication Introduction Fellowship with Giramondo Publishing. Award-winning and nominated plays include Super Perfect, Contest, Dream Home and The Good Girl. Emilie also works as a dramaturg and text consultant. In 2020 she is starting a PhD in creative writing at RMIT. Her writing has appeared most recently in Australian Poetry Journal, Not Very Quiet, Plumwood Mountain, Slippage Lit, Australian Poetry Anthology, Witness Performance, Cordite, Overland, and The Lifted Brow. Emilie can be found here and chatted with here

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