Emma Neale


In the wind, a door slams.
With the sound of a drunk
felled at the hips
then sent body-long
through the percussion end
of an orchestra

the bedroom mirror
slides down the wall, tilts,
hits the dressing table
and smashes.

Some small and furious archangel
has dumped out God’s cutlery drawer,
trashed creation’s back cupboards—

strewn across the carpet
are cutlasses, scimitars,
scissors, stalagmites,
crescent moons, dog claws,
cactus fibres, party glitter,
and silver threads fine as baby hair
that would lacerate the skin like wire.

Stand back! I gasp at my son
as his hands reach out
to clasp each pretty, glistering trinket;
he flinches, freezes—

only then, like some half-starved guru,
the cat pads in

his purr a mantra
Om Mani Padme Hum
as he winds himself around our ankles

then walks straight over
the glassy coals,
their fringe of reflecting fire

and the four-year-old,
an eager disciple,
lifts the mirror’s empty frame,
a picture of rapture,
for now he can see
‘through his own self’
straight to the heart

of the world.

Author’s Note


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