Caitlin Stobie

Spark

So the soliloquy ends
with an unspoken clause.

It goes: I don’t
care that I spilt enough
ink for a beach.
Remember me, you,

on a night too long to live through?
Myself, and my best photo of you
(you stand, still
an impediment).

This is how I recall it –
I was wading waste
deep in festival tents,
toes biting boots. Back in that fit
I’d have pulled you out others’ bones.

Tonight I am there.
Tonight, it still makes me silent
as the 1920s.
(You said all we need
is the milk of a page.)

Now don’t bring
roses, just clothes.
Behold your old school,
drug me up with your kind
of electric understanding.

It takes a lot of spark to shut down Durban.

Boy in the photograph, right:
when the seizures started
I saw some strobes
couldn’t be contained.

In hospital beds
I recreate memories
like mantras for film stars
and lie with you.

 

Swimming Lessons

The boy from Bath asks
how warm home can be.
My nostrils freeze: the sting
of remembered chlorine.

And suddenly I’m five again
and stepping between
Jacaranda blooms,
alert for wiggling bees.

And I’m starting to swim
against the chlorine.

And suddenly it’s adequate
and my limbs are elastic.
And I’m tasting the smell
of crushed marjoram.

And I’m holding my nose over
diaphanous chlorine.

And there are imitation cave paintings
chalked against moss.
And I’m tonguing a lemon
against grandmother’s advice.

And I’m trying to breathe
against the chlorine.

Whatever the question was
he does not repeat.
Mark my accent, I’m still
learning to breathe.


Caitlin Stobie was recently shortlisted for the Raedleaf International Poetry Award and has been published in journals including New Contrast, New Coin, The Kalahari Review, Aerodrome, and Plumwood Mountain. She is an editor of EPIZOOTICS!.

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