There are more windows in the new house, so much light
the living room feels weightless. On weekends, I find you
staring out into the garden from the sofa.
You always wake before me, go downstairs & start
playing a song on your phone—sometimes it’s new,
more often it’s not, & always it works
the memory. When we carved the olive tree near our school,
we could barely see the letters. But after the rain,
they blazed orange. Does bark heal, our names
buried inside it? A name is a wound is a song,
so what you’re really doing is calling me. From what
sleep? You warned I eat my days too fast,
or perhaps it was too slow. You once asked,
What happened? A balding head, a bank account.
Somewhere, a boy with a black fringe kicks a football & eats figs
straight from the tree. I repeat the story of my fear
of fig trees, how my parents said the wind from the branches
could blind me. No such thing, you shrug.
Half of our hometowns thought our marriage was a sin.
A mistake, at least. There were phone calls.
There was hanging up. Years of silence.
& though we weren’t a revolution,
we were at least a questioning.
Last week, you almost dialed my old phone number,
& I wondered whether it would ring
in my childhood house, & whether I’d rush to answer.
Only you know & remember the house I drew
over & over again in all my school books:
house with roof tiles, with chimney,
with lake & swan. Simple, geometric house
I never colored in. But look how resilient
the future is, how I underestimated
the importance of big windows. Of the calm sea
of you. I don’t know at what age we learn to be afraid
of happiness. Our first slow dance was in a family club
called Union, in a town too small. We had no flow,
still have none. Unless you consider this—
me in bed, not ready for the morning yet,
& you downstairs, bringing the music.
- 109: NO THEME 12with C Maling & N Rhook 108: DEDICATIONwith L Patterson & L Garcia-Dolnik 107: LIMINALwith B Li 106: OPENwith C Lowe & J Langdon 105: NO THEME 11with E Grills & E Stewart 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLEwith E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones