H  O  M  E    &    A   W   A   Y      2  0  1  0
   n z e p c
Rachel O’Neill  

All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney             


A girl gets her first period in the year of 1893

Has the heat gone?
No, she has a rash in the morning
and static in her mind.
Only her dry tongue returns
to her moist upper lip.
And even at night there’s a stifling moon.

The girl in bed feels the heat of the moon,
gets up and finds the front door gone.
Her hand traces her expanding lips,
she wakes up to find the door inflamed with morning,
she returns
to her room, heat still in her mind.

Her failing sensibility encrypts her mind.
The girl puts socks on, almost-moons
circle her ankles in a pattern, she must return
a library book once the itch has gone.
Swimming away from morning,
she licks a stamp and lets it dry on her lip.

She pictures the boy fainting. He wiped red from his lip,
not able to control his mind
it advised his legs, so that a moon
of blood pooled in the curved crack of concrete, as the morning
bell startled the children standing around him. ‘Miss, he’s gone
to the loo’, they said, when the teacher asked, ‘he’ll soon return’.

His face had burnt as high temperatures returned
the sun passed over him as his open lip
dried up, and though she’d gone
inside, the girl watched the boy from the window, her mind
observing the thickening blood as it bowed, a moon
with skin as tight as a drum setting in the beautiful morning.

The boy roused well after the setting of that beautiful morning.
His blood glued together sufficient for his return
to class. Loss is addictive, the girl said to herself, as a half-moon
is when it promises me things, even without lips
it spells out what it wants in my mind
only when the sane sun has gone.

She has the whole morning left before her lip
breaks its heat, and she must return a book, and broach her mind.
Later, she’ll watch the new moon go where it has always gone.



©Rachel O’Neill