And I am wondering about your face,
how it alters when a mood takes hold.
Such a changeling
like a sparrow, like a burning flutter,
higher and higher up into the tree.
Like a breath by cold night,
the crispest revelation breaking ice.
What is left is the warmest sensation at the pit of stomach.
How like a stretched metaphor you are,
how like broken branches from an apple tree.
Like its fallen fruit half-eaten by animals.
How like a mystery,
entangled by the twang of a country that can't own you.
How like an endless path of thought.
How like a mesmeriser
with the power of foresight.
How like his instruments buzzing blackly across my mind.
How like the concept of the wheel,
of the science of silence.
How like etcetera in the tall, green grasses.
How like a slipperiness of truth slithering by and by.
How like the moon in all of its tiredness,
of the river who waits for the clearest direction to your door.
You don't need to tell me how
Daniel always wins, for I
am the difference between
two pieces of cake. Later I will find him
and exact my reward — the strawberry
sliding down my gullet and
onto the floor. I have no gullet.
I am the thing that falls off the shelf
when nothing has fallen.
I am the ringing in your ears.
I come from where you go
when you don't appear to be here. On windy nights,
I pop the thumbtacks out of the wall.
stare down the barrel
of your empty pupil,
you will not find me.
Beneath the spongy green rim
of your iris, I curl up to
stay still, which is
I inhabit the space between
the dust and the floor, where
I see what no-one else has seen
or will see: the shadows of the dust,
small as seeds of snowflakes.
Before I was here,
I was there,
and I said to them,
You will not stop seeking until you find,
and when you find, you will be disturbed,
and when you are disturbed, you will probably
spill something and
stain your shirt.
I said to them,
Lift up a stone,
find a spider, fat as a grape.
Do not split a piece of wood,
or I do not know what
I will be tempted to do.
I say to you now,
I have cast fire upon letters
left too close to candles, I have
stolen mustard seeds to cast
at rocks, the space between
the lid and the jar
ticklish around my middle.
I have parted the very walls and
marched the ants through. I say,
Run, and I will be
tucked up in the heel
of your shoe, gnawing at the lining.
Libby Hart's first collection of poetry, Fresh News from the Arctic (2006), received the Anne Elder Award and was shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Prize. Her book-length cycle This Floating World will be directed and performed by Teresa Bell (with Gavin Blatchford) in 2010.
Belinda Rule is a candidate for Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT. Otherwise she writes software specifications and makes websites.