First day falling

Susan Austin
in this strange office
where half a tap offers boiling water and the other half chilled
she tries to smile and read name badges 
with an imperceptible downward flick of her eyes
new colleagues bear gossip in their arms like kindling
she wants to light a fire to warm her nervous bones
instead she plies the levers on her chair, struggling for equilibrium
she logs in, opens her calendar – blank and questioning, 
slots pens and paperclips into a plastic caddy,
slips away to the bathroom, scares herself in the mirror
with an expression like being lost in snow
or gazing into the sky at night to find God
but only managing to spot a falling star 

Susan Austin is a poet and mental health occupational therapist. Her first poetry collection “Undertow” was Commended in an IP Picks competition and published by Walleah Press. In 2020 she was awarded a grant by the Australia Council for the Arts to work on a verse novel about infertility which has been contracted to an agent.

In 2021 she won First Prize and Highly Commended in the Fellowship of Australian Writers Tasmania 2021 Poetry Prize, was Commended in the Woorilla Poetry Prize and received a Special Mention in the 2021 Colin and Norma Knight Poetry Award. She blogs at



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