Sifting through shells I think of you—
Green striped flange truncated at the stalk,
singed partner variously allocated,
the dusky hearing aid of secular distance enforced.
Barrel leaf cloth fastidiously sewn emits
apertures of admissions stored and later,
distilled, through gestures confoundingly subtle.
Is there material diffuse enough to feed your repertoire?
You are everywhere. I am only in the hungry, lip catching south.
The sun’s breath harvests modernist pinks and greys.
You, the corn-rowed data of herringboned broth,
a spiralling whirlwind of lust. Or this whale
doll’s layette, bargain basement, discontinued.
An unrecognisable mathematics reassembles.
Volcanoes assemblaged stand still in place of you.
Twenty-cents’ worth of quartz harbours discordant epiphanies
of the last time we met. This froth of bleach, sea floral anti-freeze.
Crumbs of floss. These are not my organs here on the beach.
Not my liver beating, like a heart, beneath this rock.
How your sand fly disappointment stings,
punishments imperceptible and easy as poison.
Still, I sit, and think, and think of you, elegantly innumerable.
This cudgel of white bone, only two knuckles deep.
Emptied of the pod of your embrace, lesions scorn.
This face has a terminal array.
That lip segues every Latin hook.
If you could sing to lava these finite rocks,
if night could carve fresh shapes from molten ash.
If these excoriated shells could conjure your rough face
to a schismed retreat, the world might forgive
a jawbone knuckled to prism and reflect.




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Fiona Hile

Fiona HIle’s collection Novelties (Hunter Publishers, 2013) was awarded the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. Her most recent book, Subtraction (Vagabond Press, 2018) won the Helen Anne Bell Poetry Award.

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