Jas writes short fiction, poetry, plays and has just finished her second novel. Her stories have appeared in various journals, including Verity La where she now reads submissions. She lives in Fremantle with her partner and dog.
I want to stretch my life onto a long piece of string, connected to nothing at either end. Every moment which has meant something will be cut and tied back together. I cut the string to signal the heart stopping, I tie it back together to show I am still alive. I have to cut it several times, here for when I realised your beauty, and here again when I realised my love. I’ll cut it when you come back to me, just like I did when you left.
The lesson of love and cigarettes
You tried to teach me how to roll a cigarette; I roll my own now with such ease that I forget it was you who taught me and only think of it once five years later. I remember sitting on your balcony, which we peered over in silent agony waiting for your girlfriend to arrive. You taught me ill-fated love. You taught me to make you gin and tonic while you begged your mind for any excuse to ask me to leave, and found none, and so I stayed and brought you the gin you drank so well. You taught me the game of love, the notion of winning and losing, and you were my first loss. You taught me secrets, how to keep them and how to confess them at the wrong time. You taught me to swallow love and burn desire. You taught me the power of a door—once closed—a lover can never enter. You tried to teach me how to roll a cigarette. I roll my own now and think of you, but just this once and not again for another five years.
Suddenly the night air
laid down its arms
and allowed the cold to take over.
And as we entered the street
we were struck with the unmoving chill
that stood waiting on the pavement
and outside windows.
Our bodies shrivelled like leaves
and we caught our breath warm in our throats.
At your house the cold was forgotten.
The frosted street lamps,
the wet grass,
our frozen breath