Poems by Jane Gibian

Jane Gibian. Photo by James Stuart.

Wanted, taken

OFFER: 3 cans fly spray
assorted videos
Pregnancy test,
Hurlstone Park
WANTED: Road bike
(pref. working condition)
Plaster for mould making
TAKEN: old bamboo
blinds St Peters
OFFER: Assorted shells
(Forest Lodge)
RECEIVED: ping pong table
OFFER: half set vintage
golf bag Darlington
Old Iron Frame Piano
knitting machine
please (North Rocks)
Trumpet valve oil
TAKEN: toy train
WANTED: garden gnome
piggy bank
Beans for beanbag
TAKEN: DVD cases (empty)



Nine predictions

In a three-harmony month your lunar horoscope
looks contradictory: you will enjoy a sudden influx
of wealth through conventional as well as unconventional
channels, but stay away from establishments offering

sensual pleasures, such as bars, casinos and nightclubs.
Coincidentally you’re drawn to the most valuable object
in the museum, a pear-shaped vase of rich crushed
raspberry with pink peony meander. To protect

your family and personal well-being, keep a low profile
and do not make any sudden moves. You’d heard
that Vietnamese dragons are often fatter and more
whimsical than their Chinese counterparts, which seem

lean and unpredictable. Ducking in time, you haggle
briefly over jade pieces of varying legitimacy
at a street market that’s just a few squares of cloth
laid on the footpath. Your hard bargaining-and-

walking-away trick doesn’t work, so instead you buy
an over-priced custard apple, which is the meaning
of your Vietnamese teacher’s name. Those in government
may receive a promotion; avoid walking alone at night

and tend to minor health issues. You yearn for a fruit-
savouring room like that in the Li Yun gardens,
as well as a walk-in bird cage. The rusty-looking Yuan
Dynasty coin is pleasing, snapped up for ten patacas

and easily identified in the shopkeeper’s well-thumbed
book of old coins. You should do ten good deeds per day
for nine consecutive days in order to encounter helpful
assistance. This is not a good time to make new friends.




Tender, yet gamey

The finely chopped
raw tuna glistens,
bejewelled with slices
of truffled dwarf
peaches and halves
of soft-boiled quail
eggs, the yolks still
slightly runny,
the flavours glorious.

Alas, the pursuit
of crisp skin
left the fish without
a moist core,
and the horseradish
failed to deliver
the bite I was
looking for
to hone the other
earthy peasant flavours.
To the side
is a small rocket
salad interlaced
with ribbons
of sweet and salty
house-made duck

Less successful
is a large raviolo
filled with goat’s curd
lightly drizzled in basil oil,
a pale pink crescent moon
of roasted capsicum
and saffron sauce beside it,
with a small midden
of tapenade made from
ligurian olives
from Forbes.



Most lines in “Tender, yet gamey” were taken from restaurant reviews in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in 2008.

“Wanted, taken” was first published in Cordite 33 (2010), “Nine predictions” in HEAT 22 (2010), and “Tender, yet gamey” in HEAT 18 (2008).