The gibbous waxing fat and enshrouded in cloud-silver only
makes you bemoan the light pollution, the Sumatran haze,
for the lack of any stars, even here, on a fragment of island
where—perhaps—a little magic would be permissible.
And then you see the valiant few pinpricks trying their best.
They’re not breath-taking like that hideously cold night
on Rottnest island where you’d had to clutch at other bodies
to stay sane; there’s no riot of glitter no
threadbare moth-eaten quilt thrown hastily over our earthen
cradle to give us a goodnight crested with holes where light
rushes through—it’s not majestic,
but there are enough of them that you’d be able to navigate
with them if you had to. If you were able to. If you’d been
born in wilder times, known harder people, had to do more
than eat and regurgitate ink on paper to survive. If you’d
been born the bisexual pirate queen you are so fond of
telling people you are. You call your own feelings ocean,
that relentless surge nothing like land has to offer, save
in times of earthquake and apocalypse. Too often you
wonder if it is the heart of a mermaid or sailor you lack,
and then realise one is just waiting to become the other.
We all go back to whence we came. Remember not to
tease the tide,
those amorphous swells in a shallow artificial lagoon;
the hushed flicking-out of wave like a thousand mothers
brushing out their hair at once. Remember not to tease
the tide—Poseidon is always looking for new sirens, and
your hair is nearly long enough by now. By now you nearly
believe you are pretty
with no accompanying caveats. It’s taken you a superhuman
effort to emerge from your chrysalis but here you almost
are, uncrumpling, wet with iridescence. Don’t be afraid.
Don’t apologise. Look here your cast-off husks of self-doubt,
of shame and longing and inadequacy,
yellowed and curling like a burnt paper offering at a temple
where there are no gods. They’d let you slit your own throat
and hang yourself up to drain if you’d just let yourself
listen to them.