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First published in Inkshed Issue 13 2002


The nightclub air is full of smoke. I walk in time, in beats. The music watches and follows. I look. Face after face. Eyes far away, until there is one that is looking back and it is he that I open. 

We skip the introduction. 

Back in his bed we breathe into each other’s mouths as if drowning. 

He sleeps. Face down, his one arm hangs over the side of the bed. I watch. Take out my texta, touch my fingertip to the end and begin.

I write on his back. The words curve over the muscle hills and into the river of his spine.

Obviously experienced, I write. With a practiced performance but no heart. 

The lid clicks back, and I slip on my clothes and leave.

I go to the supermarket and reach for some milk and without seeing, touch the also reaching hand of a stranger.

Back in his bed we rock. The bed creaks below us.

He sleeps. One hand on his chest. Smile on his limp mouth. 

The texta touches the end of my finger.

Utter crap, I write between his nipples. Practice, I write on his hand.

The door clicks closed behind me.

A smile at work leads to his bedroom. I watch him above me and feel the weight of his bones. He turns over and I do not have to wait long for the signs of sleep. 

I write on his neck.

You did not even know I was there.

And then I am not.

I live my nights through my texta. Know that when I leave, the ink will spread through their skin, absorb down the layers and I will have been heard. 

The dark skin, the light, the freckles that serve as full stops, commas, apostrophes if I need.

I walk through the maze of people and then I see him. We look and know. 

His bed is large. I spread out all the way, half a star. He fits over me to complete it. 

We move. Eyes closed we read, we speak, we read. Eyes open we see.

I cannot help but sleep. I will make sure I wake before he does. My texta hidden beneath my pillow. My eyes closed, my thoughts blurring…

I wake. He is not there. I sit up and rub my face and look around. There is a mirror. I see the dark stains on my stomach. My texta is at the bottom of the bed. I look down at the words written upside down for me to see and read. 

A woman of letters. Pity there are only four.

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