Alexandra Burns13 February 2018
The two of us still pretending to be butterflies, holed up in our terraced cocoon for weeks watching the fists of clouds paint the sky winter white.
I remember my mum’s friends gossiping (dark eyes darting, pink lips pursing around sour words) about another woman’s daughter who went to the USA, about how it ‘turned her gay’, “she shouldn’t bring it back here.”
is the truant in my sheets / barely sixteen / I am / telling fibs to stay home with my thoughts / with my feet tucked in the pockets of sleep /
Do you ever feel like you’re being watched when you’re at uni?
You smell the blooming of blossoms, gold streaks sparking off
white petals; it is the smell of new
life, of impossible bliss.
You turn to touch the flaming light
Did you dream about it? Mikah asks. Alice kneads at her eye with a knuckle, smudges the residue of her dreamscape. A train, my boss, a drowning sensation. She responds, No. I haven’t even thought about it. It’s true. When Mikah told Alice that Pete was dead, Alice didn’t feel the need to ask questions. It was like this: yesterday, I could call Pete and expect him to pick up. Today, I can’t.
Kiss her shoulders with peach lipstick on, remind the skin
to soften. On the new day that we have here, the sun
comes out more often.
When the memories flood through her skin
like milk – when you pour it into porridge,
Her world melts.
I took aim, and released.
Mushroom clouds snapped apart;
a wafer-thin crunch,
a child treading on dry leaves,
dust gliding aimlessly against light.
I am afraid of the bees. I can’t pass through them. My hair doesn’t coil into antennae and I have no wings; my vertebrae is flat and fearful and all too human. Oh, how they swarm and shiver in golden rivers. Dew drop, dew drop, forbidden fruity sweat.
But I could do it, you know?
Take the banksia in my hands and
vase it, for the chance
of sucking honey from the world
as we bow to one another.
Taking his place,
I sat the first time, eager, in pain,
numerous nurses cautioning me against
curiosity, but all I saw out the window
was a block of red bricks, a wall.
I’m entranced by lighting stores
imagining our kitchen
and how it would feel when one day
you were home.
Holding doors open for
people, hoping they’ll open too
and embrace her,
Talk to her, thank her.
I haven’t been kissed in so long.
When everyone is tucked
between bedsheets stuffed with
love and honeycomb (because
I can tell you everything about natural history
Museums – the two kinds of dinosaur hips:
you say: two people crossing on
a flight of stairs is bad luck – you
can feel the ghosts trying
to reach out through the sudden
confusion of space –
You sit with me
eating mandarins in the field of
sunflowers that hide us,
Spitting pips sucked on
back and forth.
Content warning: violence, gore
the curls abound your head
you liked them, you said
I’ll keep them for you
next to the others too.
she likes to be cosy
not warm but
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