Skip to content

2016 Winner, Jenny Pollak

We are pleased to announce Jenny Pollak as the 2016 Bruce Dawe Prize winner. Find out more about the inspiration behind 497 Small Disappointments in an interview with Jenny and watch a recital of her poem

497 Small Disappointments 

My dear cell follicles,

I apologise for keeping you
in suspense for so long
and for any false promises my body proffered.
For not granting you the long-lived opportunity
to leave home. For the inconvenience
of being

perpetually on hold. Also,
for not having considered how easily
the long trajectory of the past (the undocumented
lineage of lovers) would be lost. Their scent
gone cold,
like old blood.

Today, I apologise for the inconvenience
you had in being on time, every month
without exception; congratulate you
in the face of such stoicism —
497 minor disappointments
released without rancour

into the dark. If I think of you
it's as imaginary
pearls — impotent jewels
cradled in the safe
of my fortified canals.

Did you try out names for size?
Slip on gender and disposition like so many
well-fitting jeans. Lie in my warm salts
dreaming of the infinite
bath. David, Sonia, Pedro,

When the waves of blood stopped coming,
did you weep? Will we keep company
until the dead end of the road?
Eggs? Are you still speaking to me?
Are any of you still here?