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short story by Annie Blake

The River Kent

by Annie Blake


for mein kleiner geist


paper is white like snow / my pen skates / scores the shine / i moved a mountain this morning / like it was running on wheels / because my five year old daughter said / look / i can now crack my own egg /


there was someone inside me who kept moving / i smoked a cigarette by the lake / the sun

the color of the inside of a blood orange peel / and the light of the fall / she wanted to keep trying to save kent / i held my breath / i knew dying had to do with patience / letting go of my greed

for money / when i planted my impatiens and it drowned sideways into the soil / i turned myself upright / my children were so happy / they clapped and sang like they were in a concert / saving the children of the world /



i still need to focus like the point of a spin / dive in without a splash / to retrace his old tracks / but i couldn’t suck in enough breath / showers of the holocaust / the tunnel i’m in / growl

of the sea / massa confusa / nine circles of hell / hot and spiritual / it doesn’t feel like a holy blessing /


i don’t want to leave men on sinking ships / children need their mothers / but if he was my son and he was all grown up /


i’m a gemini / twin pillars / gates of jerusalem / the east gate / jachin and boaz / promontories / there is a space on the shore where you can lie down and sunbake under its blue lights /

mountains have nipples like eyes / moist and primitive / they are still looking for something /


reductionists give me headaches / her voice / hollow tree / dead wood / my mouth an oval mirror  wide enough to swallow newborns / shape-shifting / inlet of her waist / the more fixed her core the more water can purpose her body / her face red / and her eyes hot and body wet in childbirth /


my husband shows me how to let hot water run through / till the pipes sound hollow / dirty water rises like reflux /


when my eyes open before dawn / i see a girl who is looking through my tallboy / i fold back

my blankets / i walk towards him / he is as tall as a man even though he is just a boy /

she said he was a hautbois / i said to her / who do you think you are / where did you come from / she continued kneeling and rummaging through my drawers like she owned them herself /


i told her to at least wait till i took out what i wanted / since everything belonged to me / she moved to one side / but when i searched / there was nothing there that was worth keeping / she took out all the clothes and washed them in the fireplace / bleached them till they were almost white / but i was still angry / so she put them back in my drawer / she told me to make an oboe out of all the wood / her voice was in her eyes / it came out in tufts of hair / they hurt me

like splinters of wood / she said hautbois was pitched wood or woodwind / syrinx /


i keep skating around on ice like my pen on paper / i have to stay in a circle

because that was one of the rules / two of my children deviated / skated through a wall

and into another room /


there was an underground kitchen my whole family was building / it was difficult to get into

this complex because there were skirting boards surrounding the entrance / we went down

an elevator / the kitchen could only be viewed like we were looking at it like a doll house /

it was opulent / and very expensive / we were all in a cherry picker because it was so high /

our heads were swinging and swimming like the clouds do before they break through with rain / cotton balls dipped in mud instead of chocolate / it wasn’t finished yet /


because idealism can never be realized /


i wake at five in the morning / pouring cereal like marbles into my cup / my doubts succulent

at sunset / they quaff water after a run /


living here is living without connective tissue / my surrogate father / hubristic like a fat balloon /  we wash our hands with spirits under the same tap / a ghost swung open the hallway doors

like the saloon doors of a country and western tavern / they told me she was curled up in a box

in the attic / or some other obscure place /


i broke my neck trying to wind through reeds / when i was young i thought they were weeds / i can hear a song within the ogham / crafted a flute and a whistle like the wind weaves them

for the thatching of my roof / that poke heaven / teeth through gum / she protected me

even as i dragged her around the house like a broken doll / she whines like a two year old / i have decided not to buy any more masks for my children to play with / i realized

that it was wrong of me to construct them from my own wood / i found her in a box in the attic / she was sitting in there / her legs crossed /


my children ask me to remember to smile when dropping them off at school / one says i look like a cross between an old man and a ghost / my other child says i’m a plum / sweet on the inside but my skin is so sour / they laugh / i frown / i say / i always smile to the children / for the grown-ups / it’s too much effort hiding what i’m really feeling /


a cross is hard to bear / loss pinned down with a nail on his feet / narcissistic triangulation

of families / the triangle and the trinity / hypostatic / a man with a black fencing mask is sitting fat like buddha and wrapped like an egyptian / he waits cross-legged for me /


i want to know the secret of nakedness and the stone soup / the girl rose and stepped up

the drawers like they were stairs / her body was blue / wings of flames / chimneys

are like cigarettes / they eventually burn out / she flew up the chimney / music of the oboe /

a channel or a river / songbird and church smoke / prima materia and flight /

au-dessus de la mêlée /


doors and windows can look simple / one or a hundred / zap me like static electricity / a man approached me / he said he just needed paper and spirits / i found some of my father’s whiskey and rolled up some paper / sunk it inside / message in a bottle / he gave it to me / i carried him up the drawers like i was climbing a scrubbing board / he was so heavy / his head dangled

like a newborn’s / the pain in his body made up his bones / i left him lying in the fireplace /


my sheer bed canopy / that reminds me how beautiful cages are not meant for birds

with wings /


the tiniest birds / the roundest bellies made of velvet or felt / like i dress my children’s chest /

as sticky as velcro / familiar names / i have tried so hard to forget / scare me like the groans

of planes skidding the sky when i’m supposed to feel safe in my bed / the robinia tree / the blood in rubinia and rubedo / is the most beautiful tree in my yard / but long enough to crash

into my children’s room if it falls a certain angle / my rapture in listening to what the wind

has to say is not full-bodied or pure / beauty is safety / i can never grip it for very long /


white journal paper / lines and snow / horizontal / snow white lies dead / horizontal like lines / schooner on a green lake when there is no smoke / she needs unity to rise to sit up like a chair /

for introspection / life and air in a glass box / holy water and fish / like saint rita in her coffin / her god gown is mystical but / i would rather sleep without it because when i sweat / my dreams are too morbid /


my child cries before bedtime / she said her dreams are scary because she can’t move or speak

in them / she might try to walk down the stairs and fall / i tell her i’ll come and settle her

if she cries / but she says / how will you know if you don’t hear me cry / mothers are like tooth fairies / they know how much it hurts to lose old teeth / to have a finger and money and blood

in your mouth /



i have to trust my mother / the one that’s grown with blue wings / trust she can take flight /

like airplanes flying for hours over the ocean / some birds look like fairytale animations /

i like them but i get confused / i don’t know whether these birds are made or real / they have tails / blue and precise like airplane wings / and a spoonful of sugar / marys

are always dressed in blue / she stares at me and never gives answers / i have to find the answers myself /


clouds pinned to wooden ceilings like cotton wood / like the overly thick eyebrows

of the president / his carrot and the stick / i’m sick of being mutually exclusive / of being patient with my legs / our feet are not a tail or wings / they tangle before i fling them into the sea /

my hand over my mouth / not to stop gulping water or to stifle a laugh / i have words that i can’t let spill /


i make letters from alphabet soup / anything linear and sensory that mutually exclusive people understand / they enjoy reading everything about me as long as i taste like honey /

i have a craving for sweetness / but i will never eat anything with more than eight percent sugar / i trained myself on blandness / so that i can taste hypervigilance / when everything is sweet

there’s no longer any inherent value / like sex without foreplay /


i walk into the bathroom and wring out the mat / i didn’t notice there was a flood / i see my shadow in the bathtub / i start panting like a hot animal / it looks like an egyptian pyramid

with long wooden legs / it’s my son / he’s sitting in a tomb or in linen / i pull up the body / i vomit skeins of threads / green and gold and a wine cork / his head is a jar / circumference

and the portal of pi / piping of the steam and the whistle of his beaks /


four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie /






Annie Blake is an Australian writer and divergent thinker. She is a wife and mother of five children. She started school as an EAL student and was raised and, continues to live in a multicultural and industrial location in the West of Melbourne. Her research aims to exfoliate branches of psychoanalysis and metaphysics. She is currently focusing on in medias res and arthouse writing. She enjoys semiotics and exploring the surreal and phantasmagorical nature of unconscious material. Her works are best understood when interpreting them like dreams. She is a member of the C G Jung Society of Melbourne. You can visit her on annieblakethegatherer.blogspot.com.au and https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009445206990.