an online poetry journal

Photo by Melissa Hotchkiss


by Belinda Rule

The ants are in the kitchen again,
the bin smells, the cornices rot,
the garden is dying. Somewhere
the omphalos waits for me.
I am sure this key I have opens
the secret vault; I must try it
in all locks. The field of locks to try
stretches to the horizon;
it covers the earth. But one day
           there will be a star
among stars in the dark sky, and I will know it,
it will be the one I have waited for.
Is there not something
that is coming for me? A card
in the deck of the days of a life,
           which is dealt
and dealt.
The milk sours; animals hate me.
Is it here, beneath this
unwashed plate? In this
furled sock? In the place,
already checked, where a car key
may be found, but not
till much later,
party started, train

Poet's Statement: Approaching mid-life, I am trying to let go of the fantasy that if I just get over this one last hill, that will be the last of my problems and everything will be easy. Or if it isn’t this hill, then surely it’s the next one. One day I will empty the bins and they will stay empty. (Also, one day I will pass through some invisible membrane of writerly success and my work will no longer be rejected – ha.) In fact everything is always already rotting, falling to chaos, including me, and the supply of problems is limitless. In the time it takes to dust something, more dust settles than the mind can comprehend.

I learned the glorious word omphalos from Seamus Heaney as an undergrad. One couldn’t possibly get away with using it more than once in one’s career, and I am honoured to have blown my wad in Barrow Street.

Bio: Belinda Rule writes poetry and fiction in Melbourne, Australia. Fellowships and residencies include Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Varuna, and Bundanon Trust. Her work has appeared extensively in Australia and the UK. Some highlights are: Best Australian Poems, Meanjin, Australian Book Review, Island, Westerly, Cordite Poetry Review, Oxford Poetry, and The London Magazine.