“15 Murdoch Avenue” and Other Works by A. G. Travers

A. G. Travers has written four novels, five novellas, and three hundred poems. She is known for her contributions to Verse Magazine, where she has had four poems published throughout 2020-2021. Currently, A.G. Travers is writing her fifth novel and studying education and creative writing at the University of South Australia.

Photography by P. M. Chatelain

15 Murdoch Avenue

There must be at least a ghost or two
at fifteen Murdoch Avenue.
They peek through keyholes
and float through rooms;
they giggle and play and
sing the blues.

There must be at least a ghost and a half
under the arch
and perched on the hearth
and rocking the tire swing
hung in the yard.

There’s a little girl in long white lace
and a man in suspenders with a moustached face;
a woman who cries in the dead of the night
and an old man pacing the stairs at first light.

And the voices, they whisper
they echo and sing.
They bounce off the cream walls
and ten-foot ceilings
and if you listen real close
the spirits will scream
beneath the sound of the wind
rustling naked, dead trees.

These are the phantoms of Murdoch
these are the dead gone askew
I told you there were ghosts
on Murdoch Avenue.


Heartbreak is the eye in the keyhole
the shimmer on the horizon
and the thing under the bed.

Heartbreak is the screaming flatline
the broken sofa spring
and the voice inside your head.

Heartbreak is the jumping ellipses
the streetlight on the corner
and the coming of the end.

Heartbreak is the taste of bourbon
the kiss of perfect strangers
and the smoke of cigarettes.

Heartbreak is the swinging heavy-bag
the wink of city lights
and the lovers we regret.

Heartbreak is the death of bonfires
the hands we hold at midnight
and the poems we forget.

Heartbreak is the trolley on the street corner
the shoes that give us blisters
and sleeping silhouettes.

Heartbreak is the ghost in our hearts
girls with bright red pigtails
and the closest friend of Death.


I noticed it when I was home
the night we drank and spoke on the phone
I felt it then but
I didn’t know
so I put it down to being alone.

Then I brushed it in the city
when we got down to the nitty gritty
it wasn’t pleasant
and it wasn’t pretty
and looking back, it’s such a pity.

Then I felt it, as you might’ve guessed,
on the night you struggled to impress
with all your charm
and your suit pressed
and you called sounding so hopeless.

Then I denied it in the car
watching the waves roll near and far
lied to myself to
escape another scar
but what good is that if that’s how things are?

Then I realised how well it had set
on the night I’d rather simply forget
one dotted with strangers
and plagued with regret
I came home and saw you and honey, I wept.

And now I carry it around with me
this grinding ache I’ve buried so deep
I don’t want to stay
but I don’t want to leave
and so I sit and I wait and I try not to weep.

It’s 7am.
I’m trying to decide whether to make coffee or kill myself.
The kettle is boiled, sure
but there’s a rope hanging in the garage with my name on it.
The mug has my name on it, too.
Some joker gave it to me last year at the Christmas party.
Broke the bank on a dollar fifty.

Now, it’s 7:15
and I’m trying to decide whether to shower or kill myself.
The water is hot, sure
but there’s a razor on the lip of the bathtub.
There’s a brand name on it: Dankworth.
Some kid in China puts these things together
for a dollar fifty a week.

Now, it’s 7:30
and I’m trying to decide whether to get dressed or kill myself.
My suit is hanging in the wardrobe, sure
but the Ruger’s in there somewhere, too.
I’m not sure if that’s got my name on it
but it won’t matter when my brains hit the wall.
The bullet only cost a dollar fifty.

Now, it’s 7:45
and I’m trying to decide whether to turn on the computer or kill myself.
The battery in it is charged, sure
but so is the battery in the Pinto, ready for a pipe in the exhaust and an enclosed space.
Would it be better than seeing my name on the Zoom call?
Bet the boss never foresaw this drop in work-from-home efficiency!
The cost to replace me? Maybe a dollar fifty.

Now, it’s 8am.
I’m caffeinated.
I’m dressed.
I’m cleanshaven.
The Zoom call starts.
About halfway through, the boss smiles and tells us the good news.
A pay rise starts next Monday.
An extra dollar fifty an hour.

Good thing I didn’t kill myself.
I guess.

From the Editor:

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In Parentheses Magazine (Volume 7, Issue 3) Winter 2022

By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7

32 pages, published 1/15/2022

The Winter 2022 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine. Published by In Parentheses (Volume 7, Issue32)
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