Jen Crawford teaches creative writing at Nanyang Technological
University, Singapore. Her poetry publications include Napoleon
Swings (Soapbox Press, 2009), Bad Appendix (Titus Books, 2008)
and Admissions (Five Islands Press, 2000).
when I said torchlight I meant YOUR FRIEND WELCOME in white paint on a carport's highest beam, uncovered by jasmine. I meant sanctuaries for glow-worms. I said torchlight in the bedsheet tent and later returned for the room we'd made around it, the folds that light leaned through, the opening of stairs above our heads. from this past we came up close, by each other's hands. we nodded to lost thumbwars. the campground pursed meanly behind us so we began, saying this is the way that chalkdust blows, to the coast, across from the western mines, across trunks and shoulders and our cheeks,
I needed to be tender in those pre-revolutionary moments, tender with that crackling, as with the lonely thigh over distortional stocking, as with the hurt car bending on through hot water, whispering to the morning: I hope people wake up. I so hope people wake up. his underbelly was an outrigger, outlonging the outcast, a wave that logged my wave as our flanks behaved in tandem. we were locked in the current and strands flaked off. off the bone china. enduring blanking faces. narrowing will. because our desires were extreme. we assumed the swung bone rod of an elderly aunt or uncle, not only fused, but easily displacably so, all the way up from toe tip to hip,
I saw him - I said, I saw you walking down suburban driveways without keys, entering people's houses on your own, & glow-worms like rumours working the agapanthus - had to be torn out, and moving trucks did all this, all blank or with misleading signage - later saw crowbar dents in the wood around the locks but the locks held, you slipped, in and out, trapped as a thief on the lam - me too with my crystal ball the metal bowl in the white living room, bowl perfect for washing caked-up bones, sediment falling down over its stars I said This is where you should be now. the room insisted with me. tipped up its sofas for more of the floorboards, removed the ferns from its sunlight. I locked the door open and said you should sit down, locked the door open and said you should sit
for lent, and spurred by reports of the demise of the woman who exercised her husband to death, I give up all forms of wisdom. we get married: I become a single person. this like stepping out of the pool into a skin, & hearing all those shouting futures, their mouths all those echoes a gnawing held open, futures, the pool ringing, then quiet. in the dark we are soft. stupid as lovely hope. cartilage flowers and will.
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