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Buoyancy | Kristian Radford

But all artists

(they say)

are in

“permanent internal exile”.

-Ken Bolton

late one night, searching myself for

anything at all really, the cat burning

like a little stove on my chest, just breathing,

the bodily spectacle of it, impossibly regular, as if programmed

to simulate living, she pins me flat, black anchor,

desperate for something to go to sleep for,

to wake up for, there’s a book within reach and

I try it, throw it back in disgust, why is the question

my hand asks her fur, whyyy / whyyy / whyyy,

a rower stroking a midnight river, I cut the night’s

surface, try to swim through it, feel nothing,

no friction to pull against, even if I found

a reason to get off the couch she would throw guilt at me

like a net, I think, although you can only understand half

of what she’s thinking, which is innocence,

the innocence of hedonism, her bliss keeps my dissociation

warm, weighing on my lungs, I give up

and suddenly she jumps off me, has some business

in the shadows of the kitchen, I try to see

what she’s doing, find myself standing

alone in a silent room, floating out to sea

treading nightwater, hoping that there’s

a search party somewhere

planning to resume at daybreak

Kristian Radford is a Melbourne-based writer. His poems have been published in journals including Cordite Poetry Review, Otoliths and Interior. He works as a high school teacher.


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