Your Soul in Five Parts


Your Soul in Five Parts


Heart —            So many hearts are thrown into a lake of fire:

               yours light as a feather of Egyptian blue, your

               Negative Confession long, compelling;

               your spirit still skipping

               between good deeds


Name —            I say your name aloud at the end of the garden

               to remember its sound. Repeat it in a whisper

               like a secret. A gift that rises from dull green

 switchgrass to ears of deep orange cloud

The word written in hieroglyph wisps


Twin —              A black and white bird with your face. On its

way to different places at once: the creek on

 the island’s inside beach, the triad of gums

 you planted, the lawn of your childhood

               home. Soaring through every sunrise


Persona —        I watch the birds for facial expressions. To the

one that swoops: you don’t need to remind us

to remember you. I often feel warm wings

around our house

when the stars come out


Shadow —        Your mouth fell open and your essence flew

to join the others. I find myself asking if I

please you. Seeking approval from shadows.

Asking If the colours I’ve used will ever be

strong enough






NOTE:  The ancient Egyptians believed the human soul consisted of separate parts, each with its own role to play in the afterlife.




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From the West Wing


The hospital sits within a concentric circle of time: through

the window a black bird


sits in a white-trunked tree, a vacant car park sprawls, a train

hurtles by, a sunless day


sucked of joy is suspended grey on a hanger. I have special

powers: can see forward and back,


remember the future in fine cartographic lines — jigsaws of

boats that blur to become animals


drawn with fingers on hot sand. There are coastlines of touch,

a vulnerability in the face


of sharp pointed instruments — I am reminded of miracles:

the small happy cloud I lived on mothering


two small boys. You endlessly scroll on your phone and I turn

the pages of a book with images


of temporal sculptures from water, ice, leaves, feathers. It occurs

to me that we live in a world


that is both hard and soft: not easy to distinguish between them.

The magenta wall of this room


is an unkind industrial colour. You sleep, half-turned away and

your lashes sweep a cheek moments ago


an angry red. Time is a stretch of nerve fibres: anticipation and

regret. Across the river, first lights blink.

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