from You Must be George

I. George as a resonant frequency

It felt like recognition. The ticking of my veins and the 
Rhythmic oscillation of day to day suddenly responded to 
A predetermined signal, flickering so quickly that it felt like a 
Continuous sensation vibrating paler and paler 
Until the instrument was absorbed into its own sound. 

That’s why I didn’t correctly interpret the data. 
When the system started to gutter and drift out of phase 
I didn’t think this mechanism had anything to do 
With the unforced vibrations that had always rung out 
So mind numbingly. I couldn’t identify it for what it was. 

This new man who is not George, he may only be half a hertz off, 
He certainly generates a relatively strong response signal, 
But he doesn’t touch intent to cut crystal and dash the air alive. 


VIII. Unfairly Distracted

Don’t call my name, George 
even on a whim. 
Your ghost is loud enough 
sounding in semitones that fill 
my skull and cavities with noise, leave me 

trembling in the arms of another man 
who says he loves me 
poultices my wounds 
his soft swollen mouth drawing 
out the cold panic. 

Mumbling his incantations. And I, half 
a breath away from dissolving into 
our skin, hear you working indifferently 
in some well lit room 
your keyboard tapping in a calm rhythm. 


IX. Receiving End

I’m not so sure about this being a patient in my own ward business. 
I used to be prized for my analysis, now a most unusual case, 
X-ray’s jittering about in my ovaries. 
The technician’s screen is turned away until I ask to see the results. 

She shows me in an indulgent, amused sort of way 
her hand on mine while my coffee rattles. 
She is satisfied that I too have been broken down, I am not impervious. 
She knowingly absorbs things George said and my disbelief. 

It only goes to prove the trend she’s always wanted to observe. 
She knows I am the sort of woman who doesn’t mind 
laying herself out for man like that, who doesn’t know, 
wasn’t taught that his life had made him untouchable. 


X. The People Outside

God, they’re never going to let go of that 
A-bomb thing. Even when I don’t say a word 
they smell the lab-light on me like a lover, 
smell the bright bleeding through my clothes where each 

data point has left an entry wound. You were 
the ones who told us how to do it they say. 
Well perhaps. But I think my interest 
lies more in potential fields than foreign cities. 

One day they will find a spot on my wrist 
that’s white and bloodless, saying Ha! This is where 
familiars feed, where she is unfeeling. 
where he sealed her obedience with his tongue. 

I will be contemptuous, hold out my arms covered 
in dribbling pin pricks and say Yeah, you got me. 


XI. In defence of my supervisor/myself/physics

I heard the people outside/George 
say that she is precise to the point of inaccuracy 
way too intense/her level of concentration is caustic 
clings viscously/viscously to the bench top 
burns through the focal point. 
But he doesn’t understand the dynamics of pleasure 
edit: the pleasure of dynamics/mechanics/connections 
the singularity/euphoria just past exhaustion 
the resonant frequency 
that rings through her mind and drowns out 
the white noise/interference of her body. 



Ruth Corkill is in her final year of her Masters in Physics at Victoria University of Wellington. She has just returned from three months studying poetry and fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop summer graduate programme. She has a minor in Creative Writing from the IIML. Her work has recently appeared or is upcoming in New Welsh ReviewPoetry24Tuesday Poem, the Bristol Short Story Competition Anthology, the Dominion PostThe Feminist WireHue&Cry, the ListenerJAAMNatural BridgeSalient, and Landfall. She is shortlisted for this year’s HISSAC short story competition.