this. this mascara-blacked dark. it closes on you. blue-blank light refracts. split maniac. slit open in the shadows, sliding from your pale pall. half-light, half-life. apple flesh lies, going sweet sick. an affirmation of a heart, a piece of muscle writhing uneasily, instinctively. words come easily to you. they were put into your head by a kindly hand. stone golem. so you seem. so you will yourself to be. often, your talk is cheap as candles, waxen and senseless, leaving that burnt odour. when the wicks blacken, slacken, silence reels out. oil on water. your appearance a blur of conviviality, lightly bestowed. swiftly slipping through lives with half-answered questions, half-truths. this death mask that you wear in life is clean and cold. the damp liquidity of setting plaster of paris, cracking with movement. you are a plague doctor, black beaked. lunettes de soleil catching at the light. dark mirrors, no answers. untouchable, walls within walls. your carapace of privacy, holding the distance with the authority of a god. the soul lines are strict, the paper-cut words clean, precise, numb. yet often, your leonard cohen eyes, wrong colour, right gaze, unloose from your bell jar. blurring, slurring the bounds of your apparent intention, they trespass. magnetised, electrifyingly direct, your pupils betray. under your denial, the tarmac swallows bell-hollow, sun-laden, foot-heavy. lampposts watch disbelievingly down the street. skin statue-paled, slightly razor-burned, with that dostoyevsky glitter in your eyes, you close your bruised lids. inside, crystalline forms foam out of the dark. for a moment, something shifts. niveous bulbs mouth the oily air. chiaroscuro, the night is of your colour. the fine weave of the ashen winding sheet is drawn back, unmasking everything.
Ellie Fisher studies at the University of Western Australia. Her poetry is regularly featured in Not Very Quiet and Pelican magazine. After appearing in Night Parrot Press’ inaugural 2020 flash fiction collection, her work will again feature in their forthcoming title, Twice Not Shy: One hundred short short stories.