One month from now,
a dull ache
is all you’ll be
Six months on
if I hear your name,
I might pause
to remember your face.
Once a year has passed
if I see you on the street,
more likely in a club,
I may smile or give a nod.
But tonight, right now,
a thousand men with knives
couldn’t cause the pain
She stares at the t-shirt draped over her chair. A replica Eames deserves better than Metallica. Of all the things for him to leave behind!
Clasped like Excalibur, a knife thrusts up from a toilet, Metal up your ass written beneath. Who would think of something like that? Who would print it? Worse still, who would wear it? She knows the answer to the last, having argued with him before countless dinner parties, Sunday barbecues, visits from her mother.
She swats at the shirt as she would a spider, gets slapped in the face by Armani as it falls. Now it lurks on the floor, one more dead thing in a week of dead things, until her kick sends it skidding under
their her bed.
Hours later she listens to it whisper as sleep refuses her haven. If she lies just so her mind can ignore it, until a stray breeze blows a trace to her nose. She climbs from bed to hunt naked in the fragmented moonlight. The shirt is a cool breath on feverish skin, and she surrenders to heavy metal dreams.
It’s gravity, baby
and that’s how it started —
three whispered words
under the bleachers,
thrown into orbit.
Almost as quickly,
those starburst nights
of lying thisclose
There’s a point
whether to brace
or just to surrender –
for a heartbeat or two
it feels like you’re floating,
then the ground rushes up
to show you how endings
can sound like beginnings
The worn, russet couch opens its maw
and swallows me whole. A cool embrace and scent
of old leather finds a chink in my mind’s armour.
A vision of you sneaks in. Tanned legs barely covered
by denim cut-offs wake buttermilk thoughts
of caramel ice and sunshine.
Cicada-song jolts sleep from the room. I wake
into twilight’s warm, mottled hues. Time moves
slowly, my skin breathes out. Freshly-cut lawn
flavours the breeze trickling through the fly screen
to nudge my mind. In the depths of the couch, my sleeping back
has unwittingly found your old sketchbook.
Lazy river Sundays seep from pages, as dry as the memories.
Moments and scenes captured in charcoal-scratched stasis–
your hand always as sure as your eye. A pressed-flower fallen
from our Red River Gum is caught between pages. I slam the book
shut and it slides away. You would have smiled to see
how deeply the paper cut.
In the photo I keep in my wallet
you’re smiling. No hint of ghosts
in the glint of your eye.
You’re sitting on a riverbank
weaving a daisy chain
I wore until it crumbled–
linking flower to flower
with the unblemished certainty
that beauty and vows are forever.
The laundromat washer clunks
into motion. Foamy tears stream
down the glass. Slowly, my clothes
drown at midnight. Minus one shirt,
still clinging to my basket,
for as long as it smells
Sixty miles from sleep
those lonely road voices
wage a war in his mind. Guilt
ebbed two cigarettes back
when parting words blurred
to a single white line, and raced
out into the gloam.
An old Stones shirt is all he left,
torn like the heart it now covers.
And somewhere back there
a girl sits alone, forsaking photos
and dreams; hates the way
his shirt makes her feel,
knows she’ll sleep in it
all the same.