Stranger Still

Photograph by Joel Wynn Rees
Photograph by Joel Wynn Rees

After the beached whale

we missed the boat home

found ourselves lost

at sea.


We drank to cover the silences

ears to shells

imagining whispers.


After the whale,

we discovered some worn magic

in washed-up things

lonely bottles

solitary shoes


each other.



was equal to distance, more or less

and we drifted together

drawn by soundless tides.


After the whale

we wandered through

a forgotten holiday resort


my bare feet

crab-stepping the broken glass

collecting fragments –

a swimming pool, empty

a mango tree,

full of bats.


After the whale,

the day filled with darkness

and windows became eyes,

we felt

watched by ghosts.


We asked questions of the sky –
but the stars said nothing
as always.

And the moon cast nets of light

through the palms and

across the dunes to where


the whale bled out


just another body

in the shallows of the night.



About Amy Purton-Long 1 Article
AMY PURTON LONG works in film and TV, on projects as diverse as Powderfinger music videos and mermaid-themed tween TV. She was involved in Brisbane’s spoken word scene, and has had poetry published by Vibewire, Red Hand Press, and Speedpoets.