ALEX MITCALFE WILSON
JAPANESE RETAIL DISPLAY AND COMMERCIAL SPACE DESIGN ANNUAL 1986
I open the book to see horses. The first is glued to the top of a plastic hedge
and it looks like that video of your new garden, with everything split into tiny squares of colour. The other horses remind me of tin grasshoppers, pulling giant wheels.
There are captions that can only be read in Japanese. Sunlight reflects off the
page as I look outward, through the door.
I imagine you walking past buildings with weathered paint and iron roofs.
The next three photos involve a blanched and evil doll. Her hair is the colour of
flour, in my kitchen as we cook.
There are small drifts of dust, like snow around her feet.
In another dream, the snow is really paper.
It makes me think of you, teaching words for common fruit. Japanese children
You say pear, then apple. Plum. The book opens to a page for selling creams.
Giant plaster animals are suspended as if killed
but the warthog, deer and puma are still very much alive. They’re like those tiny
statues on the path behind your school.
The conversation they are having is hard for me to hear.
In the third chapter, some of the angels have fallen over. Others are arrayed
correctly, singing hymns punctuated with red holly.
Today, I looked at mannequins in a window. I saw their ribbons on your body;
lace a line of melted snow.
The angels are surrounded by perspex bubbles and wrapped presents. They ask
if Christmas has been good.
I remember Christmas as warm water, always falling from your face.
I think about different fruits and take two aspirin.
The third chapter remains a mess of made-up words. Across its final pages,
broad fabric ribs descend inside an unlit hall. The linen trench is illuminated from
within by tiny paper globes.
This image is intoxicating and also real; it’s like a photograph of you. I leave it on
the sweaters, on the floor beside my bed.
This morning, more dreams of snow falling. Sometimes I mistake the torn paper
for flying insects, or the city where you live.
I am in the bath, thinking about an advertisement for clocks. Their faces glitter on
a tower by the sea.
Later, I will drink a berry smoothie and then go back to sleep. The book is filled
with clocks, like I have dreams where we make love.
There is a badger in a vest. There is a fox with golden eyes. I turn the page again
to see a thousand paper trees.
The strongest impression is left by a spoon, carving wood out from a heart.
I dream that we are swimming in open water. The sky is Christmas green.
I return to the bath and flick past other startling things.
There is a photo of a swordsman, made from heavy sheets of glass. He is
watching many clocks as they glitter in the light.
Water runs from the ceiling. I see fruits and paper all around.
I only think of you when I dream of snow at night.
Listen to Alex Mitcalfe Wilson read ‘JAPANESE RETAIL DISPLAY AND COMMERCIAL SPACE DESIGN ANNUAL 1986‘
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Mitcalfe Wilson lives in Wellington, where he works as a school librarian. He recently graduated from Victoria University, having studied Chemistry and Teaching. Alex has previously published in JAAM.