Archive for September, 2011

Poppies

by Rafael S.W.

She was getting ready for work and I was watching her cover up her nakedness, piece by piece. Whenever she did this I felt things catching in the back of my throat and they didn’t leave until she had had gone. In my mind I lay on the bed like one of those river cleanup sieves, trash slowly congealing around my wide open mouth. She was beautiful. And every morning I was sure she was leaving.

I watched her this morning, as she worked her way up into clothing. Each step seemed to take her further away from me and further into the world. I wished I could save her. I imagined her at work, one lonely girl in a sea of ties. They wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between her brave smile and her real one. It was cold in these mornings now and she got dressed quickly. She was wearing a white blouse, a new one, flecked with red dots to attract the eye. But then there was something strange, she stopped for a second. “Oh,” she said softly, turning to me, holding her hands to her mouth. She coughed again and I noticed that her hands were brimming with freshly cut poppies, violently red flowers that were already starting to drip onto the floor.

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Rafael S.W. exists for the glorious stories. He has been giving them out like strange candy for about 11 years. He is studying at RMIT, where he is one of the founding members of their newest secret society- ‘Dead Poets’ Fight Club’. Rafael, the writer of broken-hearted boys and the ocean. Rafael whose soul is electricity and banks.

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The House

by Liz Ryan

The house, two stories high, walls white as bone. The real estate agent, standing before the front door, smiling, teeth whiter than the walls. You approach and she ushers you in, always smiling, teeth flashing as she rushes through the details of the house.

Perfect for you, she says, and it’s clear she knows something about perfect; perfect suit, perfect teeth, perfect hair. You smile, as if you believe her, believe in her perfection.

Your teeth, yellowed by years of sugar and life, stay hidden behind your lips as you walk through the house, tracking dirt on the perfect white carpet. She pretends not to notice.

Beautiful house, you say, as if you know anything about beauty; ugly clothes, scarred face, messy hair, yellow teeth. She smiles, as if she believes you, believes in your beauty.

She goes through every room in detail, showing you the deep closets, big showers, nifty features. But all you see are the scratches in the wood of this door, rust in the bathroom sink, gouges in the floors, marks on the ceiling. The flaws stand out in an otherwise perfect room.

This in mind you look at the real estate agent. Suddenly all you can see are the wrinkles around her eyes, on her forehead, the slightly uneven height of her ears, a stain on her jacket, a flyaway hair.

Too expensive, you say, and walk out the door, leaving her white teeth to try their act of perfection on the next victim.

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Liz is an emerging writer studying at Deakin University. She spent the first few years of her life toughing out the freezing winters of Waseca, Minnesota. The story of how she got from northern America to southern Australia is long and complicated. Suffice to say she did.
http://twitter.com/ElizabethRyan8

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Jeweller’s Hands

by Amy Han

He has softer hands than mine. Until now, I have always been proud of my calloused jeweller’s hands – here is where the wires accidentally pierce; here the skin has hardened for better grip on findings and beads. My cuticles are rough and thick, like pumice stone. Nails kept blunt and unpolished because length gets in the way and polish doesn’t last a working session. These hands reveal who I am. I am an artist. This is how I make my living, sacrificing the softness of my own touch for the intricately adorned beauty of others. I create beauty with these hands. But he makes me want to hide the fact. His fingertips, with their soft and gentle pads, whisper across my shoulders and make me flinch. I feel the breath of them pressing into my palms and instinctively close in my fingers. He’s reaching. Fingers sliding down my arms, hands enveloping them on the way down. Like the silk scarves I use for wrapping wooden beads. He has all ten of my fingers, every rough-ended, tough, labour-enduring one. He is peeling them open, and kissing my palms. Lips pressing into the centre of the left, and then the right. I shudder.

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Amy Han is a Melbourne writer who has recently published her first novel, Ru Dreaming. www.amyhan.com.au

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Stained

by Caitlin Gall

The antiseptic perfume hits your nostrils as soon as the glass doors part, like a rolling wave of purity that breaks as soon as it hits you. They say that smell is one of the strongest memory triggers; you believe that now, as harrowing images force their way inside your thoughts, haunting you.

The buzz of the machine is next to assault your senses; it sounds something akin to a dentist drill, but lacks the signature cold shiver down your spine, that sets your teeth on edge.

You step out from under the blanket of humidity that has covered the world with huge, clammy hands; the air-conditioned atmosphere welcomes your sweat-slick skin with enveloping arms.

The bell attached to the door rings dutifully, notifying those who care that you have arrived. Nobody looks your way, and for that you are thankful; the few tears trailing glistening paths down your cheeks will go unnoticed for now. Anyone who does care to look may mistake the errant droplets as symptoms of fear or nerves, but they would be mistaken.

You take a seat, your hands fiddling with the crumpled photo you have clasped so tightly, for so long. It is the only thing you have left to hold on to, and you won’t let go.

The tattoo artist calls your name, and you move towards the chair numbly. You may never hold your baby in your arms, but you will have her with you forever.

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Caitlin lives in Geelong, and is currently studying Bachelor of Arts at Deakin University. Caitlin likes to collect pets in her spare time.

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