Exhale

A cat sits softly
with the fading light
 
The last pink embers of the day
fall into the sea
 
Australian winter sky is
distant bush fires and salt
 
No one notices
 
The cat licks her fur
matted from weeks of lying on old blankets
 
Evening shakes hands with night
I’m just a spider hanging from a web
 
When the hand comes to brush me away
the cat will not raise a paw
 
I will land on my back
 
The air will be chilled, stilled
 
silent

Evening seminar

She was talking up to the ceiling
orange LED reflected in her teeth
 
I felt like – what did you say?
oh yes, Youth Group
the hall reminded you of Youth Group
 
Not that I was ever there in the first place
another girl’s past splayed out before me
 
The topic was colour
and my back ached like stone
 
Light danced like a junior-school disco
my friend in glasses smiled meekly

Rubbing her hand
across the circular table
 
We were somewhat stale, or grown up
 
Before leaving
I took a sip of water,
then a gulp,
then poured the glass over myself
 
Ran head up
dripping from the theatre

 

Overhung

I’m splayed on the carpet
a bad-mannered starfish clutching my toes

half a piece of toast hangs from my mouth like an old bauble on a Christmas tree
my hair is seaweed,
dancing in
greasy, disgusting tangles around my neck

in ten minutes I will
stand in the shower and dissolve,
skull against the tiles
for now I’ll just lie back on these crumbs

last night… sloshes around my head like
soggy gym shoes thrown from a car

the scraps keep appearing
churning out groans like a compost bin

I plummeted from the dance floor
onto a pair of eyelinered fish heads
sucking out each other’s gills in time to Kanye,
swaggering nasty through the throng

I think I smiled clumsily and retrieved politely
the slice of lime
that had fallen on her head from my glass

then, failing to care, I flailed my jelly arms
back into the strobe light wonderland of
whoever’s kitchen it was

My toast is as soggy as the gym shoes now
I must have dribbled into its charred, miserable crusts
Where’s mum?

At least on this sad, sad morning there is coffee, that jolly little Italian waiting in the cupboard. He’ll help!

There was this other bit where
I was talking to the wall and you came up behind me
putting one drink in my hand, one hand on my waist
my silly drunk waist
I turned around to your grin, and all the noise stopped
my eyes lolled from the bridge of your Roman nose to the sharp line of your chin to your neck and I grinned back, foolish like a schoolgirl
but there was…something

until, in the shaky blur
you were gone, replaced by a fridge
and I realised I was standing
head over the sink
alone

This coffee isn’t working
after one sloppy sip,
I’m betrayed by the aftertaste
like a grotty homeless man’s sneer

He’s staring at me now,
a foggy, motherless mammal
knotted up in flannel pyjamas

Shutting all the blinds
I grovel myself away
little worm that I am
off to the shower
in hope of another chance at my sunny, life-affirming Sunday morning.

Middle Meadows Walk

By the clouds, by the stars
I am enclosed

Rachmaninov lifts me from the cement below
Whispering in my cold ears
His orchestra soars
Matching my magnified heartbeat

Half way down the path
My doppelgänger shadows smirk
I fear that I’ll turn around, hands in pockets
To see my own night-time figure peering back

My dark imaginings,
The gothic moon above,
Pulsing strings and deep blue dread
Beams down in Russian black

Everything crescendos
Until I feel my keys

And see the sodium street-lamps
Guide me to my door
With their golden, unblinking eyes

The Walk Home