Hid­den

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books - John Up­ton

Stretch­ing up to look for a salad bowl, I’ve found that you’re a stranger. Fifty-one red boxes of what killed you bring you back in­stantly six months later. Your lovely smile. Why hide them? And why there? I’ve no idea, the blind ge­og­ra­phy of long-term lovers. All I have left of you is love and ques­tions. And, briefly, rage. I take them down, tile af­ter card­board tile. All empty. Why not throw them out? Why stash all this empty air for me to tum­ble in? And yet, an­other out­raged part of me is grate­ful, warmed. They give you back — an in­ti­mate, se­cret you I knew I knew but didn’t. That pri­vate you that couldn’t make de­ci­sions. Now, bereft and strangely calm I catch the red-stained pack­ets in a bin, I click the door-lock, step onto the ter­race. I flick your lighter and there I burn th­ese in­of­fen­sive, mur­der­ous car­tons, I burn them one by one, I burn them like cig­a­rettes, chain-smok­ing empti­ness.

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