‘But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.’ Khalil Gibran The space one person takes up is pure wizardry, like a genie from an exotic bottle their aura streams out, silkily yet stuffily, in an incense as inescapable as musk or myrrh if it were visible you could see its smudged smoke rising in soft curled streamers to ceilings, through doors, cracks and filmy curtains till your home is misted and fogged with this other presence – this ‘pea-souper ’of a person! though just sitting quietly on the couch silently reading the News on his iPad you know the words and they jostle in your brain Ukraine fills your attention: the first Australian fatality the Tasmanian on his humanitarian mission Szelensky, the unshakeable courage orphaned children trudging desolate to Poland others hiding in cellars, the animals… China’s new Pacific alliances nuclear weapons a spar between their military jet and ours, in international airspace your forehead tightens your mind is busy as a beehive there might as well be newspapers plastered to your pristine white walls or a newsreader powering out new events at breakneck speed But then he leaves, thankfully, as your commitments don’t match for the first time in a year! you wave dutifully till he reaches the bend in the driveway then hot-foot-it inside the air clears, expands, as though it’s heated and active, the space in your home quadruples you breathe deeply, to the bases of your lungs stretch your arms to their furthest points relish the vastness of your domain, your mind clear as that mountain lake you want to twirl like a ballerina on a toy piano, to endless repetitions of Für Elise I need to tell him not to return for longer than he expects because I need space as a bird needs song, my unequivocal Selfhood and blessèd peace of mind my wellbeing my identity I’ve whittled my identity: shaved off bumps polished with soft circular abrasion till I was smooth and bloomed warm in the hold of a hand just give me literal spaces to restore, revive, survive I must have this solitude, without it, I fragment you’re going to have to let me go now and then if you want me whole, and I won’t give anyone anything less.
Erina Booker is a Sydney-based poet. Her life revolves around poetry, from publishing books & contributing to journals & anthologies, including those of Vita Brevis Press. The journals she contributes to include those of haiku & tanka. Erina regularly recites her poetry at public events, & enjoys giving seminars. She contributes ekphrastic poems to art galleries, works regularly with artists and craftspeople, and actively supports poetry within her local community. Her qualifications include a major in Literature within her Bachelor of Arts degree, & a post-graduate degree in Counselling. Erina knows the value of words, & the pauses between them.