In this Kitchen, & Mandarin by Zoe Ridgway

In this Kitchen, & Mandarin by Zoe Ridgway

In this Kitchen

In this kitchen

there is a frying pan

and oil static

mushroom gills trying to 

hide behind

glossier vegetables.


The pot next door

is boiling over

I watch the bubbles

rewind as I turn down 

the heat

treading that fine line

between a simmer

and snuffing out

the element flame


I click the igniter

again until the 

fire returns 

blue as obedience

and I wonder

about the time 

when people decided to

take what was outside

and make a fire

with buttons and dials.


In this kitchen

there is no weather

she waits by the door.

Some nights I sneak her

in through the window

as she coughs on the 

fly screen

into this kitchen

pressing stories

on my skin 

of people who still cook outside

of a time when everyone had to.


She says it must

be easy

to forget things 

between four walls

and I remember

how safe the air

was before 

so safe it was



I ask her to stay a while

but she just smiles

and says

‘You will get cold’.

and although I wish

she was wrong

I close the window.


The air turns still.


In this kitchen

there is steam blushing 

on anything that’s glass

and a frying pan

full vegetables from

places I don’t know.



on the way home

I pull out a mandarin

stripping the white strings

off its back

piece by piece

spitting out the pips

when no stranger 

is looking


citrus skin in

my hand

I wait for an empty street

break into the red bin

outside number 63

and throw the peel inside


you see

the best of sins

hide behind

thick plastic

and redemption 

comes on a Friday

not missing a single street

that engine hiss enough

to fracture the morning



there’s no peace

like the quiet

that follows a

garbage truck

and there’s no sense

of complacency that

isn’t packaged

that isn’t held

to a toast by

keep cup talismans

and the canvas bags

don’t feel like they're holding a revolution



on Fridays

the curb looks just as

heavy with

weight that can’t

be lost when everyone

knows where it's heading


I look to my empty hands

and ask them

how far have my fingerprints



I ask them

how do I

feel an extinction

like a funeral

like a breakup

like a world that has more

than one pair of eyes


but somewhere I know

I’m not

big enough

to hold that kind of pain

this brain knows 

concrete better as a way home

as our connection

rather than another’s tombstone


I've been trying

to look at all the

things I’ve ever owned

like their birth certificate

isn’t a barcode

isn’t a sticker

on mandarin chest

but a seed buried

out of season into

the earth’s breast


I guess 

I just want to 


what I don’t know


don’t you too?


Keep up with Zoe’s poetry on her Facebook!


Executive Producers

Karolina Ristevski

Sue White

Daniel Henson

Elliot Cameron

October Editorial

October Editorial

Assorted Photography by Lachlan Buller

Assorted Photography by Lachlan Buller