(TWENTY-FIVE) the body has memory

‘The body has memory. The physical carriage hauls more than its weight. The body is the threshold across which each objectionable call passes into consciousness.’ Claudia Rankine, Citizen.

this is how days are spent. the briefest moments of hope. punctured by despair. can you despair at nothingness? can nothingness be a sign of despair? how often in the last four weeks did you feel hopeless for no reason. you would like to believe there is always a reason. but numbers aren’t a good measurement of pain. or experience. or despair.

it’s the memories that stop you. does the future have memory? is past performance an indicator of future performance? you never know you’re in it. until you’re in too deep. you don’t yet know when to fight. and when to walk away.

you are a self-fulfilling prophecy.

there are already others. circling. waiting to swoop. and you say there is nothing left. not even for me. but someone has found something. and my skin still smells like you. and you keep saying I’ll hold on I’m hanging on I will be held here.

this is how days are spent. each morning there is a torturous moment before consciousness. each morning there is a moment where nothing has changed. how often in the last four weeks did you feel hopeless for no reason?

every morning she said.




and on a scale of one to ten? always a ten. always.

these streets don’t exist without us. and last night I dreamt about our wedding. you wore a dress. but that can’t be right. can it? you took my breath away. and isn’t that how it’s always been. how do you erase the intimate knowledge of someone? is that what happens now? will the contours made for these hands wear away over time?

the body has memory.

and these streets. they don’t exist without you.

this is how days are spent. you are dressed for a different season in a different city. this city that was once your own is now the prickle of heat on your neck. and will it be yours again? and does that mean you’re no longer being held. just holding on. hold on.

there’s something comfortable about being in the crush of people. here in this space you are nobody. you are not the person who has lost everything. twice. you are just a girl in a stripy shirt wearing a banana necklace. here in this space you are nobody. and for a while. this is the best you can hope for.

and you keep thinking. but there was a ring. and you keep thinking. but we were making a dream home scrapbook. but you were a ghost. and now you’re ghosting streets that don’t belong to you anymore. these streets that belonged to the person you once were don’t exist in this time. these streets exist in the past.

but you say you’re holding on. just holding on for one more day. and you’re in danger of becoming a 90s pop song. but we agreed that life is a musical. so hold on anyway. just for one more day.

these bodies have memory. and mine will remember yours.

Published by becjessen

Rebecca Jessen lives in Brisbane. She is the award-winning author of verse-novel Gap (UQP 2014). Rebecca is the winner of the 2015 QLD Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award. Her book Gap was shortlisted for the 2015 Sisters In Crime Davitt Award for Best Debut Book. In 2013 Rebecca won the Queensland Literary Award for Best Emerging Author. In 2012 she won the State Library of Queensland Young Writers Award. Rebecca’s writing has been published in Overland, Meanjin, Going Down Swinging, The Lifted Brow, Cordite Poetry Review, Mascara Literary Review, Tincture Journal, Verity La, Voiceworks and more. Rebecca is currently studying her Honours in Creative Writing at QUT.

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