Poetry Shelf connections: Amy Brown’s ‘If we’re lucky we have time’


If we’re lucky we have time


to divide batter into bowls and drop a different colour into each, then tip the mixtures

into a tin and use a knife to drag pink through blue and yellow through green knowing

in this, at least, there’s no getting it wrong


to lie on the driveway, arms angelic, and be tickled with chalk tracing our edges


to say, This is how big you are – enormous! – look at how much space is yours


to adopt kittens and not be annoyed when they pad across our faces overnight because

really we aren’t sleeping


to read little and slowly, attention brittle and bracketed


to turn the spare bedroom into a quarantine zone for when he comes home

from the COVID ward with symptoms and should no longer touch us


to count the hairs that come away between my fingers


to order three plain grey T-shirts because the world has sold out of scrubs


to answer teenagers’ emails which begin, As you know these are uncertain times and

I’m truly sorry I haven’t submitted my essay yet, and end, I hope you don’t get sick


to hear fear in his language that reminds me of his dearness


to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or The Barrel as our hands turn into volcanoes –

Look at my lava!


to spray all the handles with Ajax and feel like an Ancient Greek propitiating Apollo

to ward off the plague


to find glitter on my cheek three months after New Year’s Eve


to smile at the three-year-old announcing, The kitten’s pooing in her glitter tray again


to imagine holding a social proximity party at which everyone must be within 1.5 metres

of more than one other person


to consider how to get our wills witnessed from a safe distance


to listen to a kids’ podcast about why leaves fall off trees; when the days get too dark it is

right to let go of what allows you to grow


to decide


to hibernate




Amy Brown



Amy Brown is a poet, novelist and teacher. In 2012 she completed a PhD in creative writing at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of The Propoganda Girl (VUP, 2018), which was shortlisted in the 2009 NZ Book Awards, and The Odour of Sanctity (VUP, 2013), a contemporary epic poem. She is also the author of Pony Tales, a series of children’s novels. Amy’s most recent collection, neon daze, was published by Victoria University Press in 2019.


My review of neon daze

The Spin Off – ‘Turning on the Light Ladder: Amy Brown on motherhood and writing neon daze

Radio NZ – Harry Ricketts reviews neon daze

Poetry Shelf – excerpt from neon daze

Victoria University Press author page




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