[the space within]

by Annika Cleland-Hura

Listen. Put on lightbreak

            like the loafers that don’t quite fit
                        but will in time. Wipe the sands of shame
                                    and other people’s expectations from your eyes and

waken into miracle. The audience

            has faded with the stars. Walk soundlessly
                        through the forest that breathes and dreams 
                                    with you. The whole of your consciousness

lies awake under the tenements – under

            those arched brows and sketched bridges
                        that now reveal themselves to be mere
                                    constructs. Step back and reconsider;

the sugar docks under the printed

            lines of to-do lists and forgotten notes
                        to self might be only sweet nothings
                                or may prove to launch a thousand new thoughts in

moments. The centuries turn their

            heads, watching from above your gentle
                        meander of self-discovery. Seconds fall
                                    graceful as autumn leaves as time un-

locks. And open under the

            triumphant break of day lie the clocks
                        their ifs and shoulds and mustn’ts blowing like dust
                                    from pages in the morning breeze, a faded ashen

hill. Their inherited books and

            ancient sayings, words twisting upon 
                        themselves like the nearby oak, barely ripple
                                the grass beneath your feet. Turn your back to closed

doors, all gathered to distil

            your pride, taking shots at your worth
                    with bad aim. Breathe. Step cautiously
                           but confidently. Fall back and float downstream, carefree

like happy berry pickers

            in the afternoon sun. Listless swirls convene
                        in that hollow cavity somewhere behind your left
                                    ear, far above your head. Carried on the wind

one voice talks to us – yes, listen

            and bundle your breast in a cloak of twilight.
                        Crisp the air with breath. In the clearing burns
                                    a bonfire, cackling and crackling its song.

It carries away the second and the years

            fall down, prostrate before you, curious and shy.
                        For here, time is but a friend, emasculate
                                    but brimming with wisdom. The open clocks tick

till the heart’s in a jacket of snow –

            grasp tight your dusky garment; call out
                        to its stars to warm and thaw. When the boughs
                                    stoop low and weighted with a thousand storms

and the head’s in a helmet white and

            adrift – stop. Close your eyes to the darkness.
                        Listen. With a breath enter the heady scent
                                    of a dozen stolen midnights. Eternally recall –

the song sleeps to be wakened by the morning ear bright.

            Through the treetops wafts the breeze, silent
                        yet carrying the tune of not-yet-roused
                                    always just out of reach, ever teasing.

Listen. Put on morning.
            Waken into falling light.