Title: Sport 42: 2014

Editor: Fergus Barrowman

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 42: 2014

Mary Macpherson

page 261

Mary Macpherson


R worries about the plants. The summer they’ve had, and lately, the rain that’s poured from the sky. In his worry—a moment’s darkness in his eyes—there are gardens of stressed ferns and dahlias, and everything that grows, stricken with incurable diseases. X worries about his small shiny dog, finding his fears in dreams where the dog is slippery or broken so he can’t hold her above people’s heads on the monstrously crowded train. Y worries about what X worries about. He should worry over more meaningful things—perhaps the dog is an avatar for these fears? She puts her worry into the river of things she cures in her mind. S worries about the sales of his inventions, ideas that have run through old wooden houses and roadsides flashing past like a film—all this may not be redeemed. X and Y talk about S’s worry, turning it over and over, and then spitting it out. Y worries that they’re being smug. She knows how desire blots out the sun. Then she writes the word ‘replaceable’ in a notebook and worries about slipperiness. S dwells on the thought of having no plants to eat—he’d leave immediately for another country. He invites X and Y to go with him. His friends are quiet, worrying about how they’d earn a living, and how they couldn’t live exactly as they do now.

page 262

Y as X

When Y writes as X she thinks she should write sentences like jabs in a boxing match, but pulled at the last minute by a sudden funniness. How does he do that? She looks at X’s writing and sees his sentences are often shockingly short. X would never write a word like ‘disbenefit’, then in a long parenthesis explain that, surprisingly, the word does exist and how X (writing as Y) feels embarrassed she didn’t know, and that the person who used the word had a blocky confidence they would rise in the organisation, so took words from the course rather than older ones with their shabby disadvantages and how this upsets Y (X as Y) in ways she can’t explain. Close parenthesis.

When X sees Y’s attempts to write as him, he’s startled by the bluntness of the text. He’s become an alarmingly savage person. Put in ‘please’ there and there, he tells Y. And thank her. End by thanking her.