Seascapes

i

Water; silver, reflecting
back a sky’s intent,
the pellucid void stretching
beyond stark,
splintered digits of birch.

A crooked branch, forever the
lonely witness to the sacred
boundaries between sky and earth.
Soon enough, a tiny tear slowly
appears through the paper-thin
skies, where a streak of dusk glows;

divine, red-hot filamentous being,
the anvil before the god’s flesh.

The clouds rumble. And swiftly
enough, the unseen hammer
hits the anvil.

Sparks fly.

A lightning bolt
rips the sky into an explosion
of needletails, which scoot out from
the smouldering crack, skirting over
broken pieces of strata.

The fishermen will not be out today.

ii

Spider veins; desolation, streams of
opal speckled with age spots.

Waxen whispers abound, as we pull
off a burl from your cozy sweater,
throwing it contemptuously back
into the sea.

She now lies in a sick bed, only one
out of numerous dormant androids
at the hospital; tubes, closed eyes,
light green gown, this exact shade
of the dazzling display of sunlight,
now dancing on the sea’s surface.

Her laughter tickles the cochlea and
it smiles; a myriad of hidden delicacies.

I turn to her, sitting beside me –

A mess of black hair piled
on her compact head; my eyes
a mess of limpid, naive expectation.

I finally open my dry mouth.

“See you later?”

 iii

Breathing in deeply, where the
scent of freshly baked bread
wanders, an ancient march of
tired wayfarers. Surprised noses don’t
refuse this rude offer, and the
fragrance graciously unveils itself,
a birthday gift in advance.

No apologies.

Crepe-like, rustling, pastel; and
soon the light streams through
a network of papier mache veins –

Rose gouache pink, the colour of
her house’s clumsily patched walls!

The voluptuous aroma of rosemary
tilts and spills over, a bucket of
upturned sand. Thrilling nectarinia,
dirty blue watering cans left to rust,
the smell of fresh dirt that clots
in the palms.

The sunlight makes my eyes tear, and
the bleedin’ mynahs are making an
awful racket, as always.

Her eyes crinkle, and I try not to cry.

An estranged rabbit’s hole of
curious objects never lost,
but sometimes found.

iv

Chairs scrape back. A tearful
voice, vaguely female, resonates
somewhere in a cosy corner
of the cafe. The barista
smiles at me.

“Your coffee’s ready!”

I stare at the coffee cup, trying
to look for signs in the steam
as it rises, a languorous, luxurious
cat’s tail, open slit-eyes burning
amber divergent from Sunday mornings.

“Can one divinate from vapour
trails that dissipate into nothing?”

She is seated across from me,
smiling faint as she holds my
hand, tiny gold band
catching the sunken glow of
this now-empty cafe.

I try to smile back but my heart’s
intent says otherwise; frozen as
the blue lake yonder still deep and
quiet in this gaudy spring’s thaw.

v

The book falls open in my lap
carelessly, whites of its eyes
rolling towards a pale face. I turn
the page and manage to cut my
finger, where a microscopic
bloodshot vein snakes across
virgin paper.

Raven’s eye, evil;
nothing but trouble!

Her body, marble shrouded
spectre, trembles with rage as my
fingers pull at the offensive page,

tearing it away, miniature savages
roughly hacking  at a bellowing
bull’s head while looking around
wildly; and there it is, in plain sight –

a porcelain ash-tray,
abandoned to its lonely fate
on the coffee table.

Ah.

Anger now humbled, satiation
and embarrassment mingling
together, the aftertaste of cheap
champagne. I strike a match and
put it to the page where it quivers
slightly, brushing against my skin.

Again, like a ruptured artery,
indignation spurts forth;
viscous exuberance, a wine for
thirsty titans.

Lightness, such lightness!

Always within my grasp,
so freely available for greedy
consumption, but always
managing to slip through the
fingers, fine grains of sand
slowly mocking me from some distant,
abstract patch!

The flames soon subsume it
in its fiery embrace, wiping it out
beneath the glare of my
inflammed eyes, but yet the ashes
linger, blowing into my face a sooty kiss
eiderdown soft, tenderly
as the blustery day comes a’calling.

vi

Laying this lavender spray
on her gravestone, I raise my head
in surprise at a tiny birch sapling
rising, young and spindly
from the side of her grave.

How did it get there?

Perched on it is an equally minute
needletail, cocking its head at me;
perhaps with the same sentiment.

Then I spot a young girl
cradling a ceramic bowl
in her hands, palms encircling
the swelling, fertile bottom,
fingertips pressing themselves
into this burnished, grainy surface –
tiny rows of teeth meeting
numerous flakes of human skin.

I watch, mesmerized, as she tilts
the bowl, pouring its contents of
which I do not know onto the
thirsty grass, and I observe a steady
stream that curves away
from the trembling lip, separating
into spherical marbles that fall away
under gravity’s curse, readily
compelling thin blades of grass to

bow

under its weight.

Her eyes hold some dark mystical
power that resides, glowing from
inky, liquid orbs embedded stone-
like into pale, chalky skin, and I
imagine her making a tiny incision
just above where her heart is, knife
clutched in these delicate hands –

and then she plunges it into the sweet
snow peach flesh, fuzzy, warm with
the fresh cut oozing an invisible,
fragrant honey.

A blood-red cave of stalagmites
yawns ahead and out steps a black,
empty hole, fully shorn
of all yearnings.

Drip-drop-drip-drop.

I glance at the rumbling skies and my
hands, now moistened with rain,
where her gravestone is now marked
with polka dots of drizzle. I smile.

She would have loved that,
if she was still around to see this.

The young girl smiles at me and
heads back towards the warm asphalt
road, still holding the empty bowl
carefully in her hands.

Floating like a phantom on the grass,
a tiny child is all curled up, fast
asleep on a muddied palm frond.

© Zelda Reville

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