After the meal they sit together at the table.
Striations of tomato sauce cross their plates
showing the pathways of their chips.
His reading glasses sit cross-legged on the scrubbed wood.
In the lenses the reflection of his face is much smaller
than his actual face the way she knows she holds only the smallest
image of him in her mind never really knowing
who he is who she is where they stop
where the outside begins.
She touches the back of his hand where the star at the centre
of their universe has touched it wrinkling and freckling
leaving its mark. He knots his fingers around hers.
Behind him the kitchen door is open.
An earlier rain has pixelated the flyscreen making a pattern
like a calendar with some of the days blocked in.
From outside comes the racket of crickets
sawing through the evening’s minutes
splitting them into their infinite parts.
She lets go his fingers and watches
her hands move in around her cup
which is full of tea. She blows down on it
so that the surface coruscates into miniature waves that break
against the inside edges and move back to the centre and she thinks
of the sound-waves of the crickets moving the hammer and anvil
in her ear sending their song to her brain the way the outside
acts upon us all the little physical touches so that we carry
the universe in our skin in our tiniest of bones.
Wind blows through the flyscreen popping empty
some of the squares of water changing the pattern.
She feels the rush of it the sky moving in around her
her self becoming part of it. Soon she’ll get up clear the table
but first she stops to pay attention: pigeons’ feet prattling
on the tin roof blowflies elipsing the porchlight like planets.
Even each of the spaces between the blades of grass in the lawn
is alive with something: beetles and grubs seeds and roots
all the little things doing their work. And what is her work?
Maybe it’s just to listen to hold in her mind the fraction of reality
that she can understand. She can’t remember what else she thought she needed
but she knows now this is all there is. The myriad fragments of the world.
It is enough.
Alison Flett was born and bred in Scotland where she published three collections of poetry. Whit Lassyz Ur Inty (Thirsty Books, 2004) was shortlisted for the Saltire Book of the Year Award. Since moving to Adelaide in 2010 she has been published in various anthologies and journals and been guest poetry editor for Transnational Literature. In 2014 she was shortlisted for the Whitmore Press Manuscript Award.