The frustrated tiger paces the river bank. His padded feet imprint the sandy earth. A walking stick, polished and lifeless has been left where the water meets the land and two leather sandals, placed side by side, point to footprints that spring off into the stream.
The black water mirrors the foliage that fringes the passage it carves through the jungle. Somewhere in its depths, a naked body slides like a fish, feeling the smooth play of wet along its limbs.
She lies amongst reeds, waiting for the sunset and shadow body of the tiger to disappear back into the forest from whence it came.
With a final sniff of the warm air and a humming growl, the tiger walks back between trees in search of another game.
The swimmer emerges, hair, wet and long, hanging in strands to her shoulders. The droplets drip off her as she salutes the sun, each bead magnifying the sunlight on to the surface of her skin.
The cool, velvet silt of the river floor squeezes between her toes.
She sits on a sun-warmed rock and waits until the ripples still and the river becomes a flawless mirror once again.
She fell into his arms, soft, crumbling, like grains of rice tumbling from a split sack. She fell to pieces and assumed that only he could gather her up, put her together. He could not. He gaped and stared at the trembling wreck she had become and though his heart meant well, he saw not how he could gather every last fragment of her pitiful, weeping being; so far spread and wrecked was she.
So he held her for as long as he felt he could, then he got up to go and left her to ponder the shattered pieces of herself and to wonder how to fit them back together like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle with no picture on the box to guide her.
She struggled for hours, days, lifting up each tiny shard, watching how it glinted in the light, what message it held and then absorbed it into herself, flinching with the sweet, sultry pain as it reconnected with the other hidden parts of herself.Read More »
The back door. Blue paint peeling reveals dull grey wood beneath. Concrete steps, two of them, where I sit and peel the spuds on the warmer evenings. I don’t want to go back inside. When I close the door behind me, I feel like a rat trapped in a cage.
If I stand here for long enough, they’ll all come home. The kids will run in, breathless from the school day. They’ll sling their bags onto the kitchen table and charge out onto the lawn. If I stand still enough they may not even see me, they’ll just kick the football around me like a stray goalpost.
Then he’ll arrive, the sharp smell of sweat around him, carrying the mood of his day into the house.
When I was ten years old, I wanted to be a movie star like those smooth haired beauties in the sepia photographs my Uncle Marv had pinned on his garage wall. He used to go in there to secretly smoke his roll-ups while Aunt Sadie was out doing the shopping.
Read More »
His hair coarse and dark, lifting from his scalp in surprised waves. Can I run my fingers through and forget about you? Turn my face to the new, unstuck with glue, hardened by days of neglect and contempt.
A snail hides in its shell, its too soon to tell whether the spell has been broken – cracked into shards that spread for yards. Kneeling on the grass is a girl full of worry.
She gathers her thoughts like wild flowers in a colourful posy. A rabbit hole of desire fills with soil and roots. There are his boots, empty by the door frame, telling of months long gone. A dickie bird at the window sill trills its favourite song that always lasts too long.
Row your boat down the stream, catch a rainbow by its dream, see the waterfall, hear the scream and drop down its tide to the lagoon below.
It waits like an open mouth to catch you between its teeth: rocky crags that jut out like aggressive canines – fangs of a vampire thirsty for blood, rich red like wine.
Pebble on my path, you trap my toe and make me question which way I am going.
Pebble, you set me free – my fingers curl around your coolness, which sips the warmth of the sun.
When I hold you, I am taken into a quiet place beyond myself.
In and around myself, an openness that is always there but hidden by the noise.
Pebble, take me to the seashore: the edge of the land, where the water licks the sand.
Your home, you are set there in stone but move in strong tides, rattling over your brothers and sisters.
Pebble, I keep you on my desk where you remind me of what it is to be quiet and alone, without questions or solutions.