Bright Space

Adam Stokell’s poems have appeared in several journals, including Meanjin, Cordite, Communion, Pink Cover Zine and Plumwood Mountain. His first poetry collection, Peopling The Dirt Patch (A Published Event, 2018), formed part of The People’s Library exhibition at the Long Gallery, Hobart. He lives at Slopen Main on the Tasman Peninsula.


Adam Stokell



I’ll miss doors.

I’ll miss windows more.

Some doors get made of glass,

get left ajar, alfresco,

giving the blur to the old in/out.

A window is a picnic in the foothills.


Walls check wind and shrapnel.

They aren’t all bad,

they just have a habit of falling

into the wrong hands.

Each wall weighs a tonne

till a window comes along like a sword

of molten sand smiling through.


A hatful of frowning walls is a roof.

Sure, I could punch a hole through the roof

under which I write, glaze it,

but the pineal eye I’ll open

on to the sky will be dumbstruck

by week’s end with bird shit.


Who’ll shed a tear for stairs?

Showers yes, but not the taps

that steer them, not the mirrors

they blind with steam, bitter

with foiled dreams of becoming

bathroom windows.





My keyring boasts ten keys.

It’s an almost baseless claim.

Only two still talk to their locks.

Why keep eight estranged keys

on hold, weighing down a pocket

wherever I go? Am I expecting

dead cars to resurrect, padlocks lost

and long forgotten to start resurfacing

like childhood dreads? One

key’s so tiny it’s hard to imagine

it ever turned more than a Matchbox ignition.

Two are identical twins – but to what?

Or maybe I’d have you believe I’m flush,

keys jangling as I walk the way coins once clinked

in the pockets and purses of the well-to-do?

Hardly! My wealth is an idling fog.

And even if I ever get round

to uncoupling, disposing of the lockless eight,

I know of no recycling plant

for decommissioned currency.



The waiting room has burst its banks



           With a dozen other chronics

I tread the heavy water of the queue

before the queue, shuffling dreads

(only the feeds on my phone

to sustain me, only a script

and a skin-tight face to refer me)

in this seatless foyer giving on

to the waiting room (through a door

above which a clock dawdles

in analogue, past a hessian noticeboard

whose brass tacks / bold fonts proclaim

several brands of support group

but no known cure for waiting