Poetry Shelf Occasional Poems: Amy Brown’s Pneumonia/Garden Poems

Pneumonia/Garden Poems, Sept 2022



My lung’s struggle roots me in place
offering time to notice new blood

orange leaves delicate and jagged
as neonatal fingernails angle

their waxy crescents
toward the light. I follow

their example, focussing
on the green cells of myself.



It’s so bright I can’t focus
he says, trying, staring
at the petals that from here

glow neon red but in natural
light, close up, are dark pink

velvet. He doesn’t talk
about flowers often.
When he does, I soften.

Geranium or pelargonium?
Crane’s bill or stork’s?

I Google “crane” and find
a page of heads vividly
blurring at the edge.


They are honey-eater
eaters—that’s why they stay
inside. I apologise to their blank
green eyes for keeping
the glass door closed.
One quacks—coos, absurd
bird gurgle where purr should go
and roosts on her haunches
watching the sweet yellow-
striped creature hang
upside-down, stick
his beak into the dark
pink pocket of the swan
river pea and drink.
Not for you, I tell her,
happy to be God of this
situation, until the afternoon
when I find feather confetti
over the rhubarb’s crown.


there is no dishonest flower
unless they all lie
like literature

green and truth
grow together
at a depth

I see seeds reach weak
white necks through soil

night sweats add a stop-
motion effect to all
I sow    making me turn

over what I know

Amy Brown

Amy Brown is from Hawkes Bay and lives in Melbourne. Her latest collection of poetry, Neon Daze, was named one of the Saturday Paper’s best books of 2019. She has recently finished a novel loosely based on the relationship between Australian novelist Stella Miles Franklin and her lesser known sister, Linda. 

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