Academic journal article Hecate

Her Kind

Academic journal article Hecate

Her Kind

Article excerpt

Anne sat bolt upright in her pebble bed at the bottom of the Brisbane river and stretched out her long thin arms. She yawned and a couple of frogs slid out her mouth. A school of trout, hungry and bored, noticed something bright as a fluro light but crooked and moving and changed course to investigate, scraping their scales on clusters of jewels sharp as barnacles as they slipped through her fingers.

Anne woke as if from a nightmare, as if from a falling dream and blew the slime from her nose and picked the frogs eggs crusted like sleep from her eyes. She set her hands, like two transparent crabs, scuttling amongst the rocks for a suitable stone to slough away her death.

When every last flake settled like dandruff on the floor of the river what remained was extremely thin and weak, but a poetry engagement and the craving for a cigarette gave her strength and she kicked and thrashed her way up through a confusion of garbage and weeds. None of the poets gathered under the jacaranda trees on the lawns of the state library saw her rise to the surface. I was sitting apart and the strange ripples she created drew my attention from the play of pink and blue light on the water.

Anne burst onto the city night like a stage trick. For a moment she wavered, low on oxygen. She took a few unsteady toddler steps with shaking hands, shrugged, and was suddenly nonchalantly striding across the water and onto the shore. And sashaying up with sopping wet hair, river water and fish squelching in her shoes to bum a smoke from a poet.

She sat on a bench and rummaged in her handbag for lipstick and a cosmetic mirror. Nobody but me knew that amongst the mouldy poems and american quarters jiggled three aborted foetuses and any number of stolen hearts. When she got up to read, a shadow fell across the makeshift stage and obscured part of her face.

For forty minutes she smoked and rasped. She was a doll - not any old wrinkled up plastic barbie - but a weathered rag doll her grandmother had stitched and sewed. …

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