step back

The wood grain on this kitchen floor makes you think of sand dunes many thousands of miles across the sea. Lying down on a sofa, in the almost dark, a wet towel to your forehead, makes you think of mist and tunnels and abandoned sheds, the murmured hint of moss.

That's all that literature, or any part of life worth living, is - looking at something, and seeing something else.

The dog follows you from room to room, trying to gauge your mood, waking whenever you wake, moving whenever you move.

You think of how many deleted words go into the making of an email. Endless processions of backspace. Not even ghost characters; just phrases that are held, for a time at least, somewhere in the coils of the machine. Whether the coils are material or immaterial is uncertain. Data has that half-in-the-world-half-nowhere quality. Even when you press send, what's really there? Nothing special. You could say spoken words are the same. You shuffle between the kitchen and the lounge, backspacing, a sensation of sand caught in the gums, grains vibrating on the tight skin of a drum.

Look at something. See something else.

On the horizon close to the ring road, you see the outlines of industrial diggers and construction cranes. Floodlights and noise from over the hills tell you they're excavating through the night. By morning, they're still, rust settling with the dew. You wonder what it is they're trying to haul out of the land. Some waterlogged myth, perhaps, no longer fit for use. Old mud in need of paving.

Victoria 050124