The science of kindness 
It's one minute before the scheduled departure time and she is running up
the stairs and up the stairs, across the bridge and down, and as her left foot
hits the platform the train is there. Someone helps her on board, someone
moves up to make room, the doors close. She'll be home within a few hours,
fires permitting, and no clear idea of what is waiting for her there. The train
rolls through the suburbs and out into the wilds. The cat in her bag is
working its way free and the sun is going down, a silhouette against the
flames, and the moon is coming up, red on red. Her phone turns itself off
and she places it gently in her pocket, leans back in her seat, closes her eyes.
 Published in Messages from the Embers 2020
A history of speech
I like a door that sounds decisive when you close it a child who knows
precisely when to hang up the phone the historian who discourses on the
use of "hang up" for the phones we now use my rusting memories of
lying on the floor of my parents' bedroom spiral wired phone against my
head listening to you breathe while you listened to me breathe as though
we were rehearsing for a future we would not live to see.
Leaving love behind, you place the phone back in its cradle. Leaving love
behind, you close the door. So gently it might have been a breath.
Jen Webb is a Canberra-based poet, who arrived here via South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, the Western Australian Outback, and Central Queensland.She is a distinguished professor at the University of Canberra, researching poetry, cultural theory, and creative practice. Her poems have been publishedin many local and international journals, and have been anthologised and translated; she is also the author of 5 collections of poetry, and 7 poetry pamphlets. Jen is co-editor of the bilingual volumes Open Windows: Contemporary Australian Poetry (2016) and Writing the Pacific (2007), and of the journals Meniscus, and Axon: Creative Explorations.