Zoe Dzunko

Ocean Candle


I never mastered the cash register

when I believed enough in the ocean

to imagine leaving. New candles are

delivered weekly, the blue cylinders

promise to make the smell of summertime:

the lick of salty lips, the sticky grass

of seaweed come alive for anyone

with a lit match. At night the fan circles

like a mosquito locked in, daylight feels

far enough away until the alarm

clock sings disaster—I hear the journey

of my blood against pimpled flannelette

sheets, push the whooshing in my ears

into the sound of a tide, anywhere.




Morning Ritual


At night you turn your back into a hot

dune, marked with bruises. I lay inside of

the shadow, think of the tooth you broke a

half from, cracking a beer bottle in your

mouth. I can spend most of a day thinking

of how grass feels cold and a sticky kind

of dry against my thigh. Years conjuring

the sound of a horse snorting its joy at

moist soil. And I spend a morning eating

cereal, try to scoop even numbers of

cheerio rounds into the milky pool

of my spoon; do today’s crossword over

a cigarette, fill in the seven squares

that mean to describe “the state of desire.”




Zoe Dzunko’s recent work has appeared in Guernica, The Age, Going Down Swinging, Two Serious Ladies, The Lifted Brow, and Banango Street. She is the author of: All of the Men I Have Never Loved (Dancing Girl Press), Bruise Factory (NAP), and Wet Areas (Maverick Duck Press). She lives and writes in Melbourne, where she is completing a PhD in Creative Writing at Deakin University, and is an Assistant Poetry Editor for Coconut Magazine.