She opened the page and out
flew the dust of a thousand
airs; that familiar old smell
that tickles the nostrils
and warms such eager eyes.

She could already feel
them, watching into her.
The glisten of tears,
the creases of frowns,
the sparkle of smiles.
The gazes of years’ past,
setting her own alight.

The curled corners of pages
plotting moments of silent


Of halted endings and swift
beginnings, of picking up
and leaving off, until that
final page. Where now,
her own gaze still lays.



Once read.

The foldings of bookmarked
corners, the ripples of
raindrops, or tears.

The stiffened waves of paper,
once soggy like hot,
hungry fingers.

The dry scabs of chocolate,
long lost surprises 
still waiting to be picked.

An old book tells not one
story, but many,
written all over its pages.





I recently finished reading Foreign Soil by Aussie author Maxine Beneba Clarke; the book that inspired this piece. Quite simply, because it’s like nothing I’ve ever read.

It’s edgy and unpunctuated. Thick with challenging topics, and accents. A rucksack stuffed with ten short stories set all over the world, from Australia to New Orleans. Voices written not as they speak, but as they actually sound. Southern drawls, Jamaican twangs, cool Caribbean coos. Like dis, mun. And it’s wonderful. It’s refreshing. It’s heartwarming to hear the souls of her characters echo in your ears. And it’s real life, real genius, captured in words. xJ