by Steph Amir

An image of a waiting room. There is a sign that reads ‘Happy New Year’ in the office window.


A snake slithers across the floor, flickers, and dissolves into the floorboards.

Cockroaches run up the wall. First one, then two, then dozens; a black swarm that buzzes like bees.

Perhaps they actually are bees, but they’re black. Then white. Then a shimmer and a dark smudge.

The dark smudge pulses and quivers.

Dad, can I have some popcorn? asks Violet.

Sure, he replies, and pours the kernels into a saucepan.

He is almost certain that there aren’t any rats running down his arms, but [POP!] it’s hard [POP!] to [POP!] say for sure.

The Wait

there are one hundred and thirty-nine days

until daylight savings starts again

I look down the tunnel at

frozen fingers, icy water running down my neck

dark nights, grey days, cycling past the pool

with puffy jackets on, watching it turn green

slimy with neglect

summer’s in my blood, I say

Greek blood, Sephardic blood

like my blood’s not equally Irish

like it’s never 11 degrees and

raining in Thessaloniki

at home there’s a patch of sunshine

my daughter and I share

lying on bare floorboards

arms pressed against each other

it’s best to make the most of it:

we roast chestnuts but burn our fingers

we let them cool but they turn into rocks

it’s best to make the most of it:

we go ice-skating and learn that

sliding on knives is surprisingly terrifying

there are twenty-three days

until daylight savings starts again

when the smell of jasmine

hits me in the chest

I slam on the breaks

drop my bike on the footpath

to bury my face in

a stranger’s garden

steal a small sprig of hope

hide it in my pocket

small petals remain intact

as I unthaw my hands on a coffee cup

(it’s best to make the most of it)

giddy with relief

when I text my mum to share my joy

she replies with photos of me as

a baby in a snowsuit, scowling

a toddler in a sun-drenched pool, enraptured

summer’s in my blood, I say

I can almost smell the nectarines


Welcome to Melbourne Fertility. Can you sign this form for me?

It’s fourteen-thousand per attempt, and most of that’s rebate-exempt.

Internal ultrasound. Form’s by the door. It’s probably fine. Best check to be sure.

There’s a problem with your STS gene. I’ll write a referral, get you screened.

The ultrasound is inconclusive. Your ovary, somewhat elusive.

Blood tests. More blood tests. AMH. HIV. Rubella. Iron. Vitamin D.

There’s two needles every night. You’re ok with needles, right?

Side effects: nausea, getting mad. Range from mild to pretty bad.

Donor 624 – is he the one? These waiver forms, and then you’re done.

Call us when you start to bleed. Here’s some extra things to read.

It’s just a short hospital stay, then we’ll be done for today.

Embryo’s in. Hope it stuck! Call us in two weeks. Good luck! 

Your results are back from pathology. It’s not good news today, sorry.

Did you want to try again? You’re booked for Tuesday. See you then.

Image of Steph Amir.

Steph Amir is an emerging poet with a background in research and policy.  In 2021, she was a Writer’s Victoria Writeability Fellow.  Her poems have been published in Australia and internationally, including by Australian Poetry Journal, Burrow, Foam:e, Plumwood Mountain, StylusLit, TEXT, The Victorian Writer and others.  Instagram: @steph_kaymir.  

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