Pride Week: Chloe Brien
Kicking off Pride Week 2013 with a beautiful piece of poetry from Chloe Brien. This piece shows us how to see, how to fall head first into a disaster, into love and then learn how to walk without a second shadow. A perfect way to celebrate the beginning of Pride Week on Metre Maids. We will be featuring more poetry and pieces on Pride throughout the end of June.
ANATOMY OF ABSENCE
Abandoned weatherboard house, room of syringes and
their plastic wrappers. I watch her scrawl poetry
across plasterboard walls of the living room—
kicked in television and carpet depressions
where a couch used to be. Rain of chalk dust, green,
pink and yellow on her shoes, streaking black stockings,
bruising the purple jacket — colours she’d never wear.
I read the poetry she uncurls. I’m not sure if it’s hers
or another’s. In that moment I can’t care. Beautiful,
I breathe. And she says, there are more
beautiful things, my darling. Outside, sitting
on the brick fence, she lights a menthol cigarette—
a point of red orange in evening light.
I think of snipers. Those don’t make your breath less
smoky, I say. When we kiss, you still taste like smoke.
Maybe I want to taste like forest fires, she says. Strange,
I smile. She says, there are stranger things, my sweet-
heart. Some cars have no crumple zones — when you
crash your aorta tears free inside you. A broken heart.
And when she’s admitted to the ward
I return to the weatherboard and find it demolished.
All those coloured words under broken wood
and plaster dust. I sit on the brick fence watching a man
down the street, beige business suit and tie, sleeves
pushed up, tie loose. Little white-mesh net, he’s chasing moths
flitting up from the nature strip, sweeping the net
through and shaking them into a bug catcher. He laughs.
I whisper to the empty space, there are stranger, more
beautiful things, my love.
Chloe Brien has been published in Verge and Voiceworks and has won competitions for her fiction and poetry. She is a member of the Voiceworks Editorial Committee. She completed a Master of Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing degree at the University of Melbourne. She then backpacked around Europe for three months, drank tea in England and tea in Turkey, fell in love, and discovered there is always more to discover.