JV Birch

J V Birch

J V Birch is a British poet living as close to the sea as affordable in Adelaide having moved there from London.

Her poems have appeared in several anthologies, both in Australia and internationally, including Balancing Act and Other Poems (2010), named after her contributory piece, Sentinel Champions (2012), Australian Love Poems (2013), Poems 2013: Volume 2 of the Australian Poetry Ltd Members’ Anthology and Friendly Street Poets 39: Silver Singing Streams (2015).

Her work has also featured in a number of journals and magazines across the UK, Australia, Canada and the US, including The New Writer, Sotto, The Aurorean, Transnational Literature, Uneven Floor and Ink, Sweat and Tears.

Her first collection, Smashed glass at midnight, is the first in the new Picaro Poets series published by Ginninderra Press.

To find out more, visit www.jvbirch.wordpress.com


She wonders how she got here
sees no sign that she should be.

They look in on her often
in their coats with their pens making waves
on their papers.
She stares back
her eyes full moons with the heart cut out.

Sometimes she puts on a show
sends their note-taking mad
her hands restless spiders make nests in her hair.

Mostly she waits
moves her words to her fingers
touches her mouth when she wants to speak
her voice like smashed glass at midnight.


I carry my loss with me most days now and it’s
surprisingly heavy, considering it’s the absence
of something. It turned up not long after you
went, like it didn’t want to meet you, although
I suspect it had been there a while getting
ready for the answering-back phase. I used
to keep it at home with the curtains drawn
until a well-meaning neighbour said this was
simply not healthy, that I must allow it to do
what it wants, but I was worried there’d be a
scene. She convinced me though and I took it
to her Friday night group where it sat quiet and
bright, annoyingly so, waiting for me to break.
But that had been a good day and I held out
until we got home where we had words over a
bottle of red. So now it’s in my handbag messing
with my make-up and laughing at my diary. But
even this has its risks when I tried to pay with it
the other day, certain I’d seen your eyes in
someone else’s, failing to notice the god-awful
sound and the look on the poor girl serving me.

Visiting hours

Her hands don’t belong here
bewildered starfish beached on the table.
She wants to put them away
with the napkins and knives.

When the doorbell rings she answers the fridge
confused and then thrilled
to see her teeth grinning back.

She thought it’d be her daughter
nods polite to the woman who’s stolen her name.

Later she remembers the time
shuffles in slippers to find it again.

poems © JV Birch 2013, 2014.