Your breath, exploding
in memory. No trigger warning.
We were once languish in each
other’s arms, wallowing in fiction.
Ceased to speak the same language—
lost sight of who we were
could have been.
Je te suis, you said, but didn’t.
Je t’attends, I said, but didn’t.
The word love is a beggar loitering
through deserted streets.
Here, elsewhere, everywhere, I drink
memory’s cordite letters as you
waterboard again in a sea of song.
I prime the blackened tips of my fingers,
smear your name on my parched
skin, swallow its fire. Orfeu.
I walked the desolate streets of Voix
Nice, Santo Giovanni in Croce, Otranto
Ὀδομαντική, reading Rilke’s Sonette an Orpheus.
I found them
wanting, as you
I set a match to the letters I never
sent. See how they flame, curl, dis-
solve at the edges round night shades
thickening in the late winter light.
Incredibly, wattle in the air. The word
love spills on the Aegean’s striations.
Sound of beating wings.
Your gaze pressed me into the gorge
of time but I would not die. Climbed
the stile. Circled the litter, the letter.
Ghosted my silent self into
Touched the sky full of dying stars
shredded vowels, consonants, phonemes
and, yes! Tropisms.
It was only yesterday, Hyères. Tomorrow, he/ere
waving half-way between your lyre and my song.
Dominique Hecq grew up in the French-speaking part of Belgium. She now lives in Melbourne. Hecq writes across genres and disciplines—and sometimes across tongues. Her works include a novel, three collections of stories, and ten volumes of poetry. Among other honours such as the Melbourne Fringe Festival Award for Outstanding Writing and Spoken Word Performance, the Woorilla Prize for Fiction, the Martha Richardson Medal for Poetry, the New England Poetry Prize, and the inaugural AALITRA Prize for Literary Translation, Hecq is a recipient of the 2018 International Best Poets Prize administered by the International Poetry Translation and Research Centre in conjunction with the International Academy of Arts and Letters.