You turn the teapot three times
steam rising in stanzas
the same night falling here
as on the capital.
Do names call into being
the things they signify, or are they
always in the wings, waiting
for the right cue? Three wet stones
and a ripe eggplant. One hand
over your eyes. All questions
want for answers
at least to the untrained ear
but listen from without
to let down
for tracing a collarbone.
Bodies know each other
by intention, the ibis in flight
a picture of grace
until it stoops to pluck syntax
from a bin and scatter it the park
over. More than you has it learnt
the pleasures of a double life.
More than you it knows
(pouring another cup)
to throw the leaves out before
they start talking.
To be neither circling nor completely still.
To ask what conditions give rise to understanding.
To sit in the dark a long while.
To escape the quotidian with the quotidian.
To pose a question that can’t be answered
with a no.
To think white is a sacred colour.
To understand fear as a circumstance.
To want to run from your body.
To think on what choices leave silent.
To take it by the handle, knowing the possibility
of such a thing at this height.
To think on other kinds of china.
To think possibilities are circumstantial.
To think white is waiting to be stained.
To blacken the lips, as of ink infusing a piece of paper.
To see many paths.
To be neither circling nor circumstantial.
To the steeping mountains, and on
through the plains
To leave all this behind with much else.
Aden Rolfe’s debut collection of poetry and essay, False Nostalgia, won the 2017 Mary Gilmore Award. He’s currently working on his second, The Heavenly Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge.