By | 15 February 2023

I don’t believe in ghosts
or soulmates
But I believe in empty houses
my mother’s
empty house—

The wind bumps at the glass
but can’t get in
and I am suddenly so near
to things that flicker and go
Leaf shadows lie flat between me and the trees
A tap drips
I am nudged towards memory
I believe in this

I believe in the small world
on the dark side of the stone steps
The moss
with its own landscape
its own microscopic
its pillowy green
turning itself up like a freshly made bed
to be sunk by my fingers to the knuckle
as if created just for
I believe in wet red leaves
red taillights
The sun sinks into woodsmoke
and I am raked with longing
A brief headrush
A sorrow

I can feel it sometimes
in the places where childhood swims closely
to the earth’s rind
For a breath
we are parallel
For a breath
I am brimming
I am a tree awash with shivers
A leaf
flicking its soft white belly to the sky
I am water
I am mercury and opal
I am a reflection of clouds
thin as a shiver
and ripples go over—

I believe in winter
black winter branches
black buds of rain
Sometimes stars gather like thistles
Sometimes there is only one
I believe in this too

I believe in six am fog
padding like a heartbeat tree to tree on bigcat paws
turning the bracken to stone
Sometimes I believe in the things that hurt me
Sometimes I believe in ghost towns and choirs
Sometimes ivy
Sometimes fathers
the dark ache
the bitter chocolate
the haunting—

I believe in this
pine forests
gum forests
Christmas and fireworks
sunsoaked grass and folding chairs—
Something tidal
surges at my feet
is this mine?
is this memory?

Am I somehow
passing close
to something that used to be
here is my heart
soft and dark as a fallen plum

How can I long for something I don’t recognise
that happens upon me suddenly with such
How can it take my breath like this?
How does it leave me so

Streambends, trailbends—
this membrane
does nothing

goosebumps pulled up by the roots—

I am bloodied
I am alive

I believe in the lost things
What they say
how they come to me
like grass
all at once
like grief

I believe in someday coming home

This soft hurt
This hope

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