It was late summer and the mornings, as Pastor Ethan would say, ‘had a little bite’. We were gathered to see and appreciate evidence of God’s aesthetic sensibilities and say silent, personal prayers. Most days the dawns were good, we could hear native birds from around the river bend. I watched the bottoms of the fat clouds blush. Sitting on the yellow grass, I looked at our cabins arranged in a horseshoe shape around the rec hall and the dining hall and I felt remote from them. Before true daylight, the river looked gold instead of brown. On the hill, Pastor […]
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There is shock and horror in the Californian almond region tonight.
Initial reports suggest ten dead and at least a dozen more injured.
When they came to Australia from Sri Lanka, his mother, the doctor whose qualifications weren’t recognised here, became someone her friends wouldn’t recognise anywhere. His mother, the doctor who never wore makeup, took to summer’s white heat in Perth’s baking, bleached suburbs to sell cosmetics door to door. He was too young to be anywhere other than by her side, so, with a button-down shirt tucked into polyester shorts and leather-look shoes on his feet, he walked alongside her. From one white family’s front door to the next. Her customers lived two bus rides away, sometimes three. Three was better. […]
I make a deal with God. He stands on my verandah and asks after my husband. We’re not married, I say. God was passing by, admiring the horses, when he saw the man in the field. A handsome man, says God, but much more than plain handsome—strong too. His hands are as thick as two decks of cards shuffled together. The horses are well trained. I twist a bit of hair that has fallen in my face. I am 20 weeks pregnant. My lover is mild. Every night before we go to sleep, he gets down on both knees. He holds […]
after The election year is when hunger discovered Mikey. Curled up in his tummy like a hollow kitten, purred at the pasty smell of wheat and the acid tomato sauce as mummy Bel said, ‘Just microwave pasta tonight,’ and let him press 2:00 on the keypad. Now, after, the meatloaf is real. Mikey watches it creep from pink to grey. He waves his hand through the slice of hot wind coming round the edge of the oven door. The kitchen is a little bit cool, now the sun’s going. That is the earth turning, moving the window and home and […]
Love seemed at first an easy thing, but ah, the hard awakening. — Hafez On 6 July 1980, Mohammad Ali Khosroshahi woke up when he heard a bird twitter in his garden. It was still dark but he put on his dressing gown, unlocked the back door and went outside. The beech, ash and elm trees stood in silence. He liked this time of the day when the world seemed so fresh and so infinitely beautiful. The entire universe had poured itself into this garden right in front of his eyes. It was the closest he came to prayer. Soon […]
Defamiliarisation—Pehlay Se Marasam Na Sahi, Phir bhi Kabhi Tou You present your back to a hot jet of water; it sears your skin, but you need this. Your curls beg for conditioning but you’re not worried about you hair tonight. You wear your exfoliating gloves, and pour as much Dove as the stretch of your clothed palm permits. Apple-flavoured scent fills the glass cubicle. You make a show to yourself about this being just another shower, about doing customary justice to all parts of your body. You start at your feet, lather at your legs. Under the firm upward strokes of […]
It seems to me there are only two directions anyone can go in life, towards water or towards high ground. From these two vantage points a person can find almost anything they need: food, drink, shelter, company, clarity, vision, repose. Roos know it, sheep know it, birds, insects, even the rain all know it. If there’s deliverance to be had here on earth, you won’t go wrong in finding it if you know which of the two you are heading towards. That’s my advice, that’s what I can offer. Of course, strictly speaking, water and mountain aren’t always opposite directions. […]
Tell me more about New York, her mother says, shifting on the overstuffed couch to make room for Clara. The green leather creaks. You really are in the big smoke now. But then it’s not all that wet, is it? It’s wet enough, Clara answers. Wetter than it is here in Melbourne. Her mother sighs. I don’t know. Last year Osaka had 1624 millimetres. And New York was what, 58 millimetres in February?
After your world ended for the third time, you walked. The gold ring on your right hand heavy and the blue band around your left wrist even heavier. ‘Rip-off fitbits’ was how Intisar had described them three years ago, as the two of you sat on the couch in the living room of your then new apartment, staring down at your clasped black hands.
We were both beckoned to the office, but I had nothing to do with it. I would explain this to Sávio, I decided, as I followed him inside. For once, I would be honest. Sinclair left the door open behind us. We sat in the hard chairs Sávio indicated with a soft wave. I did not look at Sinclair as he crossed his legs beside me. I watched Sávio roost in his big swivel chair. I took out words like stones and turned them over. But before I could arrange them, Sávio turned his monitor to face use, and there […]