a movement in a moment
janet walker

What if my hands did not feel. What if my fingers shrivelled and flopped around like the ears of a dead rabbit. What if my bones just bended and didn’t stand me up? What if I crumbled up and stumbled and collapsed in a heap, flat-slap face down with my nose to the footpath feeling shoes thumping and my heart pumping sideways and my fingernails digging into the hard-packed earth. What if I died now? Sucked my last breath and bang, gone. Gone.

We haven’t cleaned the gutters yet. There’s dry scrub sticking out like mossy pubes from a nanna’s cossie.

Dry scrub wishing for embers. This valley is a firebowl and we know it but we cook our pork chops and we steam our rice and we watch A Current Affair.

Rob says he would stay and fight. He reckons he could hide under the rock ledge in the basement and the fire would pass him by. I say he’s a fool. Anyone knows this house is a matchbox.

I’ve seen so many disasters and I’m only 26. I’ve downloaded them to my eye-balls via digi TV. I remember watching the Gulf War on our old wood-veneer tele box. I’ve seen massacre death debris and disaster. I’m a disaster voyeur.

All that horror and then there’s me, my plush couch, my tv dinner, my ug boots, my salt and pepper. I can’t feel a thing.

Oh yes, I’m still breathing. All I can do is keep on with that.

Don’t get caught in the trauma. Don’t be a trauma magnet.

If I write this script about flying worms, if I paint this bird wearing stockings. If I sell some bags of plaster today, if I make the 8:05 on time. If I text my mum and say, “Leave the car at the station,” it will pass me by; no fire will hit me if I am looking the other way. No storm can catch me while I am washing my undies in the laundry sink. My death doesn’t exist yet. It’s unwritten. My death is unique and you can’t buy it. You can’t know it. It’s the only thing I own.

What if the wind comes and BANG; a new dream. None of this remembered. Life is a movement in a moment.

I am just movement in a moment. BANG. I won’t remember me, and neither will you.

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