Archive Telephone

by Jennifer Harrison

The doctor rang after hours - and the word cancer barbed its tongue into my ear, arrived weighted like a heavy gold bracelet I would wear in poems forever. A metal taste between teeth that cannot bite on life enough. Heaviness. I turned and there was a spiral. There was nothing but space and air - and more space. Between life and illness, air. Between my children and air, there. Between breath and breath, between skull and brain, between curve and convexity: a new lens. Was it a space within space or a place within no place? What answer can we bear? Thank you, I said. Goodbye. I watched the phone hang silence on its cradle. 

Jennifer Harrison has published eight poetry collections, most recently Anywhy (Black Pepper 2018). She manages The Dax Poetry Collection at the Dax Centre, University of Melbourne. In 2020 she coedited Australian Poetry Journal edition 9:2, DIS—. Her poems have appeared recently in Rabbit and Griffith Review.

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