When We Were Young
Steve Simpson

Our mother’s heart
pulsing steady
with each wave that washed up on the land,
her salty blood made windy foam,
and to the furthest skies
above, all was her domain.

Yet our living was so narrow,
grains of sand
she polished, seaweed onions
rolling on the beach, fluttering, scrabbling,
never seeing portents in the shadows.

No darkness, only night,
no time but stellar motion,
an orbital Ferris Wheel,
a solar star that rose and fell.

“That’s our home, our future,”
my sister pointed, I looked up.
A prize, a golden apple,
but I was happy tossing petals out across the waters,
chasing carefree ghosts of monkeys.

We studied in our craggy classes,
bookshelf strata, indices of knowledge,
desiccant and dusty,
and after school we ran and laughed,
splashed the sandy streets,
leapt from cliffs and flew,
settling like a seagull’s feathers,
or curled and hid,
wombats in our lairs.

We were sunflowers, nautilus shells, galaxies spiraling,
spinning outward,
Cartesian passions marked with axes
on the surface of our world.

“Look up, look up,” one day my sister said,
“You can see the undersides of whales —
clouds of pale rose striated.
We’re underwater now, but we will rise
I promise.”

Soon enough immediance would send
an SMS recorded in a conch shell,
and we would leave those bony coraled shores
to wander through the lands of misinventions.

We would learn
all life revolves and re-evolves,
repeats the coda,
and that a circle
has never been a spiral.

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Steve Simpson
Steve Simpson lives in Sydney, Australia mostly. He has a paid job but the voices at night tell him to write speculative fiction. He thinks it might be the neighbours. As well as writing, he messes around in clinical neurophysiology, builds time travel machines, and attempts art. He likes rain, rivers and sky fish. And wood ducks, of course. Everyone likes wood ducks. Web: inconstantlight.com.