with Brian Dillon

At The Middle

Show yourself, Caer– says he to the cluster, bent forward as the girls gather, shaking droplets from their feathers and drinking swollen bread. They glide forward, all glistening with water, each as the snow is, and special somehow – but finding her will be as easy as gliding. Between the white dark and black light, Aengus sees her, towards him, reaching over and knows her movements, joins them. Turning too into snow and song, he then becomes a swan with his back white, and begins the wading, waterward. They go on, answering to a drifting curse called love in this place where two sides touch – the middle.

After, years, still, abound, the birds meet a new body at the lip. Their beaks clip his fingers and feathers clip the waters. They are all white dark, all black light, with grey about and no piece separate. Not really. See the togetherness. See the way the feathers meet the water meet the snow meet the blackness of his coat meet the hand he offers – oh, hello, you’re coming to meet me. Even time, the stubborn, joins them all– joins the ›snow, joins the footprints, the feathers, joins the rowing claws, the weather, joins the feeding hands and the man – all still at the lake’s edge. Stopped.

See the ripples. See the steps. All are clustered. All are touched.

Caer reaches, neck long, headstrong, to her Aengus. They meet at the middle.

When The Middle Moves

You make it from memory–

the swans.

The boy.

The edge.

The water.

They ripple before you and gather, like some semblance of sense in a plot. Like a knot at the end of a story you didn’t pay attention to.

You must have spotted similarities at the lip of the river and taken this photograph with me in mind. It’s just a copy, you say and I laugh because you’re not wrong and also completely, terribly wrong. What it is, you know, is a copy of that gap. A photo of missing parts. A net with holes too big. You miss it, nip at the edges but it escapes you.

Look, see them – the marks. All of them on the pavement. There are so many of them that I don’t know where to start. Look, it’s real life – messy and busy and attacking my eyes with grabbing hands. See the gum, see the trainers, see the trees. The chains, the cars with their lights on, the branches cut into a fringe. You’re too close. You ask questions. I don’t want to ask questions any more.

But, also – you know when you were little...did you like staring at the sun and then walking around to see the grass turn black and the sky turn white? The leaves turn into pulsating grey?

I did. I liked the way the sun made everything into copies of things. Into gestures of shapes.

That looks like a tree I’ve seen before. That looks like a bird I’ve seen. That looks like a boy I know.

I want magic, and you gave me matter. Thank you, but here – have it back.

Photography Credits:
Marcin Ryczek

Arthur Vickery

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