Rewinds

Peel open and peek:

inside the flapping, lolling mouth
of our mother’s photo album.

laminated with a sticky-wash skin
in grainy, colour-locked glamours.

encircled as we are, backlit and gypsy-like,
upon the retina of her old kodak.

Leaf through and look:

at our mother’s postgrad bungalow,
and the cats she found and raised alone.

and here, in burnout red, our ex-brothers,
with their lucid, low alley guitars.

and these polaroids of nameless children,
in some backyard mummery we long forgot.

Browse, then burrow:

deep into this picture house novel,

framed by weddings. birthdays. sleepovers.
reunions. divorces. second-hand toyotas.
painted kitchens. political borders. the first dog we ever got.

Then her final photo. Book ends.
Snap shut.
The film roll clicks.
And our lives rewind again.

 

This Brunswick house

This old Brunswick house:
Half-swept,
Half-bones,
Groans in courtly,
Nightly,
Pale display.

A light,
Transgressively so,
Curdles its doeskin walls,
Its dusted floors,
With pallid and imperial
Invitation.

Winter arrives,
As it always does,
Wool-breathed and horned,
Star-creamed and dawned,
Its raw knots unfurled
Into puffs of silver,
Into cups of bitter skin.

Yet those were the nights when we
Held close our starry marriage
Inside this hollowed out
Half-way home.

Then came spring,
That sweet-smelling canton of petals.

Bristled,
Pinecone green,
Its red buds yearning
From the cracks in our stone steps.

Bursting,
Yellow-gold and gilded,
A libation of grass seeds and summer dust
Pouring into our eyes,
Our lungs,
Our lust.

Those were the days when we
Spoke of leaving this wisping,
Curtained place.

But we never did.
Or rather,
We never could.

This old Brunswick house:
Yours and mine,
Half-formed,
Half-swept,
Half-found.

 

 

Returning home from Warrnambool

 

The clouds            blind white

Mindless on the wall.

The clouds            sterile noon

Brandishing the sky.

Like cotton inside my couch

Electrified and pure.

A part of me died

Holding it with my eyes.

When I saw your marriage

A part of me fell into white.

 

 

 

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Mingji Liu is a New Zealand economist, and is the son of Chinese immigrants. He has a degree in political science and economics from the Australian National University. He currently daydreams from his humble office in Melbourne, Australia.

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