Libby Angel

Born in the dawn of the seventies, Libby Angel lived in Melbourne, Europe and Cuba, making a scant living as a circus performer before re-emerging in Adelaide. She finished Honours in creative writing at Flinders University and teaches literacy classes at Byron Place Community Centre. She lives in Magill with Norman, the Jack Russell. Libby’s debut collection, Stealing, was included in Friendly Street New Poets Ten.


Once again the vernal bachelors have passed.
I am not so denim as the chosen ones who dip
their lovely fingers in, nor do I know
how to command a man and his socks. Furthermore,
my father has left me a dowry of unpleasant things.
Once, I tried to walk where twelve roses would snare my hem.
I met some odd shapes in the dark and other sunken folk.
A blank man stole my cherries. Then, one spring day
I met myself and disappeared in dust from my shelf.

From Stealing, New Poets Ten and Blur: Friendly Street 29

My Mother’s Wings

The wheel of fortune turns. In mourning for the sun, leaf veins
tatter, lose grip,
drift. A spell of cool shadows lurks beyond sight. Like spiders,
death waits on the other side of corners.

My mother died in autumn. It was May. The first breath of chill
was creeping under the doors. She died with a hole in her chest.
The blood gurgled through bandages from its underworld, a
rancid well.

They cut it out. They burnt it. They poisoned it like a rat.

Her chest concave and wounded, her heart began to decompose
in the certainty of death. She sat hunched, scared, retreating
into feathers,
could not lie down in hurt, she said. It’s hard to tell you
how much.

The tumour clawed her throat like a succubus, stealing her
last words.
She shrank, frowning into her ill-fit skin.

The doctor smothered her in comfort, hit her up with surrender.
Her eyes searched upward to flickering lids, her nostrils thinly
sucked bergamot,
roses sweating and her own rotting flesh.

The candle smoked to the cornices. The space between her rattled
breath increased.
From her empty chest of shallow bones her breath walked out into
the world.
In our palms, she was still.

We whispered in the garden, stealing flowers. We sprinkled petals
where she lay.
We preserved the flame. We sat holding, until it was safe to depart.

Linear time does not distance me.
The absence of flesh and blood is science.

My mother is always too close to observe with any wit.

From Stealing, New Poets Ten

I tried on faith

like a fat sister,
then I met the promised man.
He stood in the neon glamour of Friday night,
the man with the epiphany raised above
his head, uncertain as a rock.
His mouth was a tunnel and
out of his hat flew wonder, like
a dove. He was as soft as blue.

Later, I hovered in my kitchen
circle of infernal witches. They
vowed love & other breakable things.
They foretold diamonds in the dregs of my
tea-cup, and I was a believer,
at least in the rain.

for Stephen

From Stealing, New Poets Ten