What did I know of consequences?
The game delighted, so I played
like a child, heedless, unaware
of the migration of senses.
First, my eyes, translating the world,
drifted into yours, layering sight,
mirror-mazing perception. Was it my face
then, or yours, that I looked upon?
Then, my skin stretched – the whorls
on my fingers like galaxies, the lines
on my palms like rivers across sand
dunes – and my body grew beyond
itself, beyond yours. With our left
hand I reached up to drape a fine
cirrus sky shawl across my shoulders.
With our right, I stroked the wind.
Our Siamese legs straddled distances.
I breathed your breath, you thought
my thoughts, both of us configured
into the folds of one space. Who was
I then? What were my thoughts?
Where did I stop and you begin?
Yes, once there were no boundaries,
and we were both lost, adrift on land
extending in every direction as far
as shimmering hallucinations could
rise – the directions merging,
indistinguishable; the space around
us vast and thirsty; our words
emptying into it like the last drops
from a canteen, rivulets drying out
as they were spoken. Reckless,
I promised water, you promised
shelter when there was none –
and we cupped trust in our hands
and made-believe. Without boundaries,
we shrivelled in the heat;
the earth’s crust scorched our feet,
the unremitting sun burnt our skin.
I wilted in a haze of silent recrimination:
shamed, overcome by so much space.
I/you/we do not occupy this space
alone. Place an ear against the stars
or on the ground, let your skin tingle
as if a storm approaches, pay heed
to the movement of ants. Resonances
multiply: a tension in the air, a low
hum, a faint vibration. Who built
this cairn of rocks? What spirit watches
over this place? What does this hill,
that tree, these boulders signify?
What other markers are strewn about
this land that you and I cannot see?
Out of grief I drew a line in the sand,
raised a fence, tried to explain
that you would find me always
behind it, that you could come
and visit me here as often as you
want, on the understanding that
after each visit you would leave again –
so that I could grow back into myself,
my small body, my hands; so that
I could touch your cheek and know
that it was yours; so that I could be
outside the tears in your eyes.
- 100: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97 & 98: PROPAGANDACOMING SOON with 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