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“An Encounter”

We slip-slide past each other, Like honeycomb-slick layers of graphite.

I fall into you for an instant And inhale a future that lingers Like the vapour-trail of a stranger’s perfume. A comet. The portent of a terrible possibility. A singularity, Where our timelines cross And we brush palms, And feel a fever that shoots through the vertical plane like a pin. The mounted specimen of a moment.

That’s it.

The pendulum stops swinging and we pause in the Now. Nothing forward, nothing back. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – Nothing lost. We’ve drifted together at one point, To mark an X on the map. A neat little stitch.

Perhaps it’s a firework?

But my toxic reveries tessellate into an analytical sieve. I ponder. Probe. Dig into the hollow cave at the base of my skull, And rest awhile beneath the cranial shelter of youthful ignorance. I grasp at visions of our lives united, At endless trajectories of purpose, Desire, Intention, Understanding. I scramble for the burnt fragments of a great letter That contains every whispered secret, Crooked smile, And bacchanalian wave we are destined to ride. Together.

I circle the ground, Like a raven pecking at the crumbled ghosts of amaretti biscuits That fell like snow through last night’s garden party.

But I have a husk: A dried wad of tissue. The shape of my fist At the very instant I realised I’d crossed the threshold From passion to numbness. I’d woken up in a foreign country with a shrug of apathy.

Everything else hisses away like a final expiration. Only the husk remains.

This is real. Tangible. Nothing else.

A mould for the future, perhaps, When this episode is re-cast and repeated, Like a popular series, Where the character’s don’t learn when they’re defeated.

But I used to cry at the end of kids’ TV shows, Because I didn’t understand that goodbyes weren’t forever –

And if they were it was fine, And sometimes better.

© Georgina Barley 2015

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