Title: Sport 43: 2015

Editor: Fergus Barrowman

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2015, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 43: 2015

Claire Orchard

page 188

Claire Orchard


You’ve thought for months it must be
the fridge muttering away to itself.
Tonight, when the rattle wakes you,
you go into the kitchen and switch it off
at the wall, but the faint sound remains.
Kneeling, you place your ear
to the floor, and it amplifies then,
something unrelenting,
grinding away below the surface.

Not an animal you decide.
Tunnelling animals are unheard of in these parts,
and besides, the vibration is that of a big machine,
something monstrous, the height
of four men placed end to end,
with a steel mouthful of rotating teeth,
hoses protruding for the extrusion
of grey sand by-product.

You make yourself a cup of tea,
warm your hands on the side of the cup,
ignoring the ripples forming
on the hot, liquid surface and try not to think
about tunnels, the way, like garden sheds,
they tend to become crowded with things
far beyond those originally intended,
before their eventual descent into disrepair,
echoing, empty of their intended purpose.

page 189

Switching the fridge back on
you return to your cooling bed,
pull the covers up over your ears.
But now you’ve heard it, you can’t
unhear. It sounds close.

Legendary creature

for Alice

Your many-winged laundry rack
resembles a pale, anorexic albatross
doubled over, exhausted,
in the open boot of the car, resting

on the dark green sea of your nylon suitcase,
cresting waves of
tied up plastic shopping bags packed tight
with folded sheets and pillowslips,
extra blankets because
those hostel rooms get cold.

You say come on, it’s time to go and
I snap a quick photo, a beauty: you
on the driveway, pulling out
your circus strongman poses.