Author: Trish Jean
Part 1: Long Reaching Back
Bird calls rent the soundscape
I don’t know what is going to happen
It might be why birdsong seems
intrusively pitched and cheeky
The worst thing would be telling
my brothers and sisters and
trying not to lose them or myself
in reflections on a life lived
They’re probably less acute than me
about what didn’t happen in my life
but I know the shadow to my death
will be what doesn’t happen next
and that shadow will be long
to touch other shadows
that have followed us
I pull up the snow
The ocean is beneath my head
The colour of midnight sleeps beside me
Of course I’m speaking of the cotton rug
my scrunched up pillow
the feral cat who came to love me
In the busyness of the birds
I accept the day if
I can live it for now from my bed
I roll over onto the idea
of my death shadow
If I’m lying flat you won’t
see the shadow beneath me.
Triptych. Part 2: The shortest shadow
A fat drop hits,
then runs away.
It’s not allowed to stay
here, up on the window,
where I watch the tree tops.
It leaves a residue that dries to dirt.
It’s a bit like life.
The moments hit like
rain, or its absence.
drought, storm, dirt.
Those weather patterns
are reflected inside me.
It’s a long way through them,
to the shadow, on the outside.
Inside, I imagine they
have done the work of my lifetime.
Angry storms that have beaten and kissed the landscape.
Welcome wind that has lined it with pearl, to reflect
the light of the internal moon,
the heat waves of hurt and barrenness
that have bounced the warmth of the inner sun.
Weather has made the subterranean rain in me a pool
in which is reflected stories
of life I should wear again,
as I see myself reflected and climb in.
My shadow becomes the edge between
water in my body and water in the world,
as I straddle the shortest shadow,
that sits in the middle of the day.
That sits perhaps, between life and death.
The water reflects then yields,
unlike the shortest shadow of the day,
when the body is much more full
than the shadow can be.
And I want to live.
There’s a residue that dries to dirt
Triptych Part 3: Forecast
There are more days until I know what is to come.
I’ve sent out the future shadow, the one reaching ahead of you.
I can’t tell if it’s following from in front or if it usefully seeks my future.
The elongation of this shadow is a disruption to my dysfunctional patterns:
To my gnawing inability to conflate what already grows in me with co-opted stories and socially driven concepts.
To paint my own portrait as being the same as the fate of my parents.
To first protect my family and offer myself as less likely to be missed or needed.
I need a holy moment, In the shadow of a triptych: my past, present, future.
Time to travel through these patterns and seasons.
To ride not on a greater logic, but on the movement of truth.
I make my own wind to keep me company through the night.
The white noise an anchor that calls my shadow home.
The forward flung shadow found only ephemeral changes in the weather.
It wasn’t a rescue mission, a frantic tearing through memory and body tissue and beliefs, but neither was it elegance.
I need a holy moment In the shadow of a triptych: my past, present, future.
I put words in the imaginary river that don’t need to be spoken or that will bring forward the fear.
Burn all of my days before and put the ashes in there too.
That I may feel lighter. That I do not sink.
I wonder if an atlas would be more helpful than a forecast? If the dark shadow is leading me towards a truer story than the light?