Mortality

He used her spare key to go into her apartment while she was at work. In the fridge he left a fresh punnet of blueberries. Two weeks later he came back and they were mouldy. It was obvious she’d been there, new washing on the airer. She just didn’t want anything that came from him anymore. Suddenly he realised it might truly be over. He knew they were her favourite and he knew she hated wasting things. The mistakes he’d made were too bad to excuse. At greatest need he’d gotten scared, left her flailing and doomed. It was momentary, but it was enough. It cut swathes through everything they’d built, everything he’d pretended to be. Now, it hurt so much. He might never see her again and it felt like he was dying, even though it was the other way around.

He’d heard from a friend she was over the hump, everything was in retreat. So he bought fruit. Later, he thought about maiming himself because he deserved it. Sitting above the ocean, amongst trees and ferns to calm himself, he’d tried calling her. Even though he was sure she wouldn’t answer he didn’t even let it ring out, choked again. It didn’t matter how much he wanted something back. Time, decisions, her. You couldn’t make someone who doesn’t want you, want you again.

That wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that she would always be hurt by it. There was nothing he could do to make her feel better. Feeling the reverberations of causing something so permanent, he froze in place. On a rock, hidden from the view of the path, they found him.

Towards Clarity

When someone speaks,

do you ever pause

to consider the sheer number

of possible replies?

It can be paralysing,

crippling,

trying to form the right one.

Hesitant,

like nature’s early risers,

you shape the letters on a dry tongue

but they have already moved on.

Only your petrified eyes

and the furrow of your brow

can describe the ease of which

you were left behind,

always catching up.

 

A newborn in the morning,

a sapling

raising it’s mottled neck

through the forest undergrowth.

There are too many choices to make,

too many ways to lean.

Do all paths lead back to each other

or are there some the sun never touches?

Some the warmth never heals,

some remaining licked by darkness?

And what of the wind?

Where will it come roaring in,

from this direction here

or that one there?

 

Angelic or fierce,

a river cannot decide.

Murmuring or coursing,

simply different states of mind.

Whispering lightly

at the feet of passing mammals

and crashing uninhibited,

washing rocks clean.

And making laughter,

all kinds of fun,

for the rafters.

Beautiful in calm

and arousal,

a river wants to be it all.

 

A fresh gem dug from the earth,

a nice prize

or a dangerous surprise?

Wonder and puzzlement.

Scared and awestruck,

your brain is stuck

with creases,

like in misplaced sheets of paper.

Do you hold on,

move into an exciting future you can’t predict

or tuck it back into the dirt,

stay where it’s safe

and you can’t get hurt?

 

The pain is real.

What you feel

seems enduring,

unbeatable

but I have learned it’s curable.

This does not have to last.

Fear and confusion fade

into the past

once you become familiar with it.

The gem is shiny,

you just have to polish it.

 

Time Is Distance

In the sickly-lit, clogged up contagious space that was the shopping centre; you were there telling your friend you had to pack jelly cups for the trip to Brisbane.

I floated by, anxious, not bothering to say hi.

That day I had mixed sleeping pills and energy drinks, pretending I was messed up. And I had gone across the road from my house to where palms were often rubbed together. There were no shoestrings on the power lines but I was pretty sure I knew. Left there with less money than I knew what to do with. Decided I’d spend it on a movie, something sad and arty.

I felt especially guilty when I passed you, your beanie firm on your head, soft copper hair curling around your cheeks; clinging delicately like spider silk. A small whiff of your smell reached me. Well it was probably your shampoo but I still liked it. Soap and berries.

My eyes remained lidded as I grew more tired and a cloud continued to carry me. I saw the policeman pop up in front of me like a funny friend’s scary surprise. My expression must have puzzled everyone. I tried to smile politely at him while my face was stricken as I turned my head to your voice calling my name behind my shoulder. In my mind I was clean, he had nothing on me but I felt my right hand clawing absently at my back pocket in panic and then…

Then I was falling. I was falling sideways onto the cold store floor and just like everyone else; I seemed to be watching myself.