Erina Booker
‘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.



%d bloggers like this: