Differential Threshold

The ‘differential threshold’ is the smallest change
in sensory stimulation that a person can detect.

When you left the room it was barely sensory:
a bee’s wing dropped from fingernail height.
You were drunk, walked cautiously.
To keep the room in place
your fingers brushed the backs of chairs.

When I followed you it was almost invisible:
a candle sunk miles into dusk.
The landscape almost unchanged.
Wine seethed in my throat
I did not touch the furniture.

The party swallowed on; distracted.
We went unheeded, like sugar stirred
through too much water.
You were quiet,
dissolved among the bedded coats.

When I found and kissed you we were
almost unnoticeable, skirting the threshold.

Anna Ryan-Punch

Anna Ryan-Punch is a Melbourne poet and critic. Her previous publications include Westerly, Antipodes, Island, Overland, Southerly, and the new anthology Prayers of a Secular World.

More by Anna Ryan-Punch ›

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