'the notebooks of Mr & Mrs Emeritus' by Nathan Shepherdson | States of Poetry Queensland - Series One

ironing the crease into her lung with your breath
the six words in end steam over blue charcoal in her eye

your hands arrive in separate envelopes on different days
and they are addressed to each other

even the earth in its eyedropper is not medicine to our mouths
it's the milk dispensed through holes in a flute that keeps us alive

Mr & Mrs Emeritus explain on the hour that death is a democracy
and that our last vote counts towards nothing

this tear in her quilted lip is also a landscape
a sharp pencil probe into gloss flesh to rescue unconscious words

nowhere remains the last kiss before birth
a plagiarised soul copied in perpetuity until it (is) the original

this is where we stand to watch fate giving birth to doors
in an unpopulated administration always open because it is always closed

at night the surveyor marks new graves with luminous spit
in day the ground shrugs its smile from a sleep-platoon of obedient rectangles

walls quiver in this orbiting box that holds a planet
bends in to bend out under pressure from every animal breath

reduced to two people we are each one half of the world
the equator the solitary vein that ties us at our waist

(or) we could take the black bars from an equals sign
and each break the other's neck to demonstrate true love

it's easy to swap the flour for the dust when making blood cake
the bits we eat of each other make us whole

i am never asked because i am not the answer
but bees land in your ears to enter the hive

submerged in a bath tub full of honey we applaud our impossible action
what can't be heard and what can't be imagined (is) what's in front of us

this is our chance to perform an encore to two empty chairs
eight legs without fangs still immobilised by venom from separation

we crack light bulbs under our armpits by the dozen
to make sure we can't see where we are

we set three owls on fire every eight hours
so we can see where we're going

these deep pockets we had tailored into our thighs
will allow us to hang on to our femurs when we crash

in an emergency the glass in your fingernails will break
touch the first alarm from which we evacuate the skin

and memory thrown into still water can supress its sound
overhaul emanation to reverse ripples in from the outer edge

this page is a ghost expecting to be haunted by its signature
black marks that repeat the surface into a white choir of denial

form is a lonely banker too wealthy to be seen
standing on your shoulders lining up the coin with the slot to not let it go

unbelieved as feathers to a head suddenly account their embezzled sky
drawn back & forth the horizon saws our self-conception in two

side-by-side-head-to-toe-holding-hands covered in fresh colostrum
we lie in a giant wound and wait for an absence to feed on (or) reject one body

Nathan Shepherdson