– by Yolande Norris
I buy towels and tiny clothes,
feel good about the world,
under the hum of chainstore lights
Maybe that’s the first thing I notice.
That night with an aching back
I break open a pomegranate in my hands for our dinner
The flesh stains everything,
red under my nails.
I’m slow to eat
Slow to sleep
The moon is full.
affairs in order
Readying for the unknowable.
becomes rapidly irrelevant
Preparing for life
as if preparing for death
The day before the 7th of June,
A blue sky fast cloud winter’s day
through the passenger window of our little car
focussing on bare trees, on beautiful details before
everything is different.
meeting the glance of drivers alongside
going about their day with no idea
In the next lane
lives are changing.
It would be funny any other time.
Every bump and halt mocks my exhausted bones.
wanting to stand
as if as long as my feet touch earth I’ll be okay.
Second day without sleep.
Sometime that night
drugs flash cold in my veins.
My body works on.
The clock pulls slow hands through thick air till sunrise
I feel numb and stupid
But I am determined
you will be born
and not cut free
So that this has counted for something.
there you are
and bigger than I could have known
a displaced weight upon my chest.
the only one crying is me
so they hurry you away
to be done.
I remember to ask ‘what is it?’
like you’re supposed to.
It’s just me, after a time
finally, emptily, I sleep
before, empty and aching, I awake.
From June 4 to 7, we shared Yolande’s poem Four Days, in advance of the release of The Grapple Annual No. 1. You can now buy a copy online.
Yolande Norris is a writer and producer based in Canberra. She studied painting at the ANU School of Art and wrote on her canvases. Her long-suffering lecturer said ‘it’s not really painting is it?’ This year is the first time she’s told anyone about her poetry. uselesslines.wordpress.com