Closer and closer
reunion from above. Falling, she spies a young girl who looks cool,
dressed in fluorescent pink bike shorts, hair tied up with a scrunchie,
which is a sort of mini deflated parachute for the head. It’s a sign,
the parachutist thinks, that I’m landing in the middle of the right reunion.
Also she can see a group near a smoky BBQ, waving. The parachutist
can’t yet confirm that she’s landing in the midst of the right people but
she likes the look of them, the way they’re starting to part a little so that
she can land safely amongst them. Please, let them be my family,
she thinks, because whoever they are, they’re getting closer and closer.
Listen to Rachel O’Neill read ‘Closer and closer‘
the obstacle course she meets him at the bird feeder on top of
which raisins are scattered. ‘I’m a bird,’ she nibbles and the boy
really does bob and nod. Later he says, ‘we’re twins, and I can
telepathically read the thoughts in your head,’ at which point she
makes a dent in his leg. It’s spring. Sometimes she hears an animal
cry as it comes out of its tent, or what’s it called? The uterus. It’s
taken from its mother and put on the teat. After the birthday cake
the kids run around, they bleat, skitter and find their feet. They
start to count the exposed growth rings on a tree stump, loops as
fine as hairs. One father keeps calling these the inseparable years.
The centre line
they show off, skid, and right themselves, looping wide but never
ceasing to creep back upon her tyres.
a girl smiling, the same girl who’d hit on her at a party last summer –
it’d been humid and they’d clung, tongue-tips budding meat-pink
between their teeth.
hideout of night she rides with her shadow, trailing one hand in its
oil and its slips of silence. With her other she grips the handlebar
and her bike fumbles along the centre line.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel O’Neill is an artist, writer and occasional editor living in Paekākāriki on the Kāpiti Coast, Aotearoa. Her story ‘The Orienteer’ was Highly Commended in inaugural The Long and the Short of It competition, run by Unity Books/Sport in 2011. Her recent writing appears in Takahe 72, JAAM 28, Hue and Cry 4, Paper Radio, and Turbine 2010. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters in 2008.