You are a piece of shattered peace, a maelstrom
scattering the fragments of your childhood
wildly on the wind.
you’ve claimed your adolescence like a rainwash,
sweeping both of us down slopes of saneness
‘til rock-bottom seems a target
that we’re never going to reach.
But this isn’t really about puberty,
those hormones brooding you in moodiness
the queerness of my belly’s sudden emptiness,
the way my foreign body
so readily transfigured
whimpers into milk.
This is about
your first external storm,
the one that howled a tantrum
through gnashing gums outside.
You clung to me, my umbilicus. I thrilled to hear
your breath grizzling my ear, your head nestled
tight in that concavity
where shoulder meets the neck,
a niche so vulnerable
that it doesn’t have a name.
And this is about
your first steps,
when you were in such a rush
to be everywhere at once
that you weaned your neediness with bruises
and broken bones:
it scared me that everyone would think
I’d battered you,
as you proudly itemised your battle blemishes,
the mnemonics you’ll always list upon your skin.
This is about wanting to push fast-forward:
to confirm that all those yesterdays
of I don’t know,
and later on,
and maybe, maybe, maybe,
and close the bloody door,
will form a healthy scab; that we’ll both recall
the delicate cord we used to share, the melody
of syncopated hearts,
the effort of letting go;
that one day you’ll be content to carry
a little bit of me around with you.
And I will touch that precious hollow
that doesn’t have a name
and remember how it feels
to hold someone you love
when the world roars.
- 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