BY JILL CHAN
Who is he? Is he after you? Your friend had asked you while you looked worried. Questions are not asked of you. She has noticed you are a little agitated recently. Even when she is a good friend, she understands nothing of what you are experiencing. You think, she has no idea what this is all about, how akin to breaking tensions and waiting for nothing this is. For he is cunning, so like darkness only nothing comes after. Nothing tangible and decent. No morning following us into deeds and action. You cannot do a thing to please him, so you continue to ignore him.
You get a bit nervous when he is around—much like a room with so much space, you don’t occupy it much less inhabit it. But there is intrigue in his gaze and common smile. While you think this, he appears nowhere but in your mind. For a person you don’t know, a stranger with a lot of place, you think much of him.
You imagine he is someone people can’t know. A perpetual unknown or unknowable force. Each time you speak, he looks tired but excited. A combination of eagerness and commission. But his gaze is threatening to you. Almost a hole behind the eyes. Perhaps all this emptiness he means to fill with something close to a relationship.
You’ve asked him a few questions out of curiosity during the first time you noticed him just there in the corner enveloping him, his slim body, thinner for his clothes clinging to him.
“Hi. Are you from around here?,” you said.
“Just moved here.”
He is a man of few words. You couldn’t get anything out of him. You picture the hole again now sucking you into him.
Jill Chan is a poet based in Auckland, New Zealand. Her poems have been published in MiPOesias, foam:e, fieralingue Poets’ Corner, Tears in the Fence, Blue Fifth Review, Asia and Pacific Writers Network, Otoliths, Snorkel, Broadsheet, JAAM, Poetry New Zealand, Brief, Takahe, Trout, Deep South, Southern Ocean Review, Blackmail Press, and other magazines. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Early Work: Poems 2000-2007 (forthcoming); These Hands Are Not Ours (ESAW, 2009), winner of the Earl of Seacliff Poetry Prize; Becoming Someone Who Isn’t (ESAW, 2007); and The Smell of Oranges (ESAW, 2003). She is one of the poets featured in the New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive. Official website: http://www.jill-chan.com
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