Attentive to rumours of healing


Her skin bears witness
to his absence, peeling
peeling, shedding flakes
as fragile as ash.

The rooms, ambivalent
about space, contract
expand at will. Day by
day she is shrinking.

Memories everywhere:
escaping a locked cabinet
shoeboxes of cards, letters.
Abundant with the familiar

looping script, the flourish
of his name, they demand
one last reading before
the burning.

Pulled nightly from
sleep by the undertow
of randomness,

she lies becalmed
in morning light,
attentive to rumours
of healing.



After a sunset of ravishing
pinks, crimsons — a night as

black as a conjuror's cloth.
She steps outside, her eyes

fixed on the Southern Cross,
her feet following the path

he'd flagged six months ago.
Now the moon, full of itself,

illuminating cathedral spires,
exotic palms. She sees his face

imprinted on the moon
(as he'd once fancied), hears him

declare the constellations
to be wondrous, profound.

And remembers him standing
in dream's doorway, smiling,

reassuring: I am here. Always

Guided inside by a pathway
of light, she throws open

the shutters and sleeps,
moon lapping at her skin.



At the window candlelight trembles,
is stretched then returned by the breeze
to a teardrop glow.

Overhead, defying curfew, plane
after plane, their insistent drone near
yet distant; strangely comforting.

She wonders, is space a something
or a nothing, the sky a confused mass
of stars, incandescent meeting points.

And now this news flash: a helicopter
on a mountain, blades turning, spinning
silver in the wind. No survivors.

At her window, the candle still burns.

Lorraine McGuiganLorraine McGuigan's poetry has been published in journals in Australia, UK, and the USA. Since 1995 she has been the Managing Editor of Monash University's Poetry Monash. Her poetry collection, What the Body Remembers, was runner-up in the FAW Anne Elder Award. Author photo by Rosina Lamberti.



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