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White dwarf

Hi, so I got one of those DNA tests done.
I wanted to find you, I guess.
Or know something about you.

Wanted to see if I’m an apple or a platypus,
something with two halves
or a Frankenstein animal.

Turns out I’m neither.  

I am just a piece of A4 paper.

On the DNA test ads
they talk about how you get to enjoy
the kaleidoscope of your past,
your ancestors rainbowing all over from the refracted light of history.
A patchwork world sewn under your skin.
How connected we all are! Sarcastic emoji!

But my past is not The Dark Side Of The Moon,
it’s The Beatles’ White Album.
It’s a tissue in a glass of water.
Cumulus and hotel sheets,
a plastic chair at an outdoor music festival,
fish bones and restaurant dinner plates.
I am not layered brown or onion,
I am tip-top before toast,
the Bible before text.

I am writer’s block,
unwritten diary entries
and sheep foam.
A painkiller on a polar bear.
An unsent love letter.
It would have been so nice to find you
like a white dwarf in the galaxy-garden of possibilities,
waiting like a flashing cursor
on an expectant computer in an ’80s movie.

But I’m also relieved, in that way when the dinner party is cancelled.

I’m a half a boiled egg
I fit easily into the palm of my own hand.
Even though I am hospital pillows and lab coats,
I am also chili flowers and rice milk. 
Sea spray on a Japanese wave.
There’s only one place to look,
one finger to trace on one map.

But… I will put that finger back in my pocket for now.
That nail-polished, inside-out nori roll,
that Kilometrico without ink,
that paddle-pop stick dipped in liquid paper,
that church candle of a thing.

I’ll put it back and tap my sleeping crane thighs,
keeping it in, holding it in, like I always do.
I will remain the chalk outline –
that way it’s a blank canvas.
I can imagine colours not invented just yet. 
I can imagine you.

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Poem Audio

  • Emilie Zoey Baker reads 'White dwarf'