Type
Poetry

Impulse

I wanted to know, in a pause
between sentences,
whether the fine,
transparent step
between nail and skin
was designed to be removed.

Smoothly, the cuticle tears away,
like a loose thread
and blood wells after a moment,
flesh overcoming the shock
of being asked to undress.

I wanted to know, walking home
from the station, if the joints
would so easily bruise
and swell
when my knuckles pressed
against another’s body.

If muscle and bone
resemble walls and fences,
then the pain flares
and yellow meets purple
in an expanding:
yes.

I wanted to know,
when I could first drive
on my own,
how it would feel
to journey into a power pole
or through the railing along the coast.

At the empty intersection,
in the middle of summer,
when the road is melting
and sea salt cracks in the air
I tell that voice,
not yet.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Zoë Barnard is a freelance editor and writer, who lives and works in Perth.

More by