That time I was in Australia and we pretended I was a film producer

by a contributor

Rebecca Hanssens-Reed

I am in Northern Victoria with David making a film about grassroots democracy and gradually slipping into the skin of somebody that looks like me but acts the part better. I wear the idea of myself like a suit, a poor sack, woven from expanses of self-deception. This is the time of year when everyone talks about this time of year. I remember how beautiful I wanted to be and the days I believed it was tangible and the time I thought I’d captured it. Oh how I’d like to burst and be open. The canola fields are endless like an inverted manifestation of my worries. Bright and golden, the little flowers are weighted with surrender. The mornings in the country are tenuous, waiting to be pulled apart. We sleep in a dream house I have no business dreaming in. Two buddhists live here, housed in the monolith of their peacefulness. Their faces are the tattered prayer flags of the afternoon. David and I admit we felt shameful before their mindfulness. Today I read my horoscope, the usually forgotten prophetic hopefuls, fragile insights. Days like these, the days i can’t help but self-narrate with banal reflections such as days like these, i feel vulnerable and whimsy enough to fall victim to such haphazardly drawn premonitory vague daydreams. Somewhere in Wangaratta we stop to shoot overlay: the cows that won’t stop staring. I leave my purse on the car hood for just a moment and an eight-eyed spider has its way with the slopes of black leather, overlapping gossamer arcs of ephemera. She is the size of the mole on my abdomen, but more frightening than the prospect of slow, sinister understandings. If I could see in sixty frames per second perhaps she wouldn’t be so frightening, but there are many things I can’t keep up with. Sometimes I awake in the middle of the night and mistake the explorations of a mouse for the knocking of a ghost at my door. I’d prefer the ghosts, of course. Every night is an orb that glows and floats away. I’d like to depend on the gravity of these words but they, too, escape my mouth and go running. There is a dread slithering through me like a silverfish worse than the chills from a bee sting. I know that nothing is connected but sometimes I feel I could string it all together with my silky, expansive arms and knot it all around my heart. We have been chasing the perfect shot of a sunset, meanwhile the scab on my right shin shines like a morbid sunset, and another sun sets on the hopefulness of honest articulation. Before this picturesque landscape I am fraying with the thought of my ordinary demise. We are nowhere near to letting go.

Rebecca is a writer and translator whose work can be found in Dressing Room Poetry Journal, The Saint Ann’s Review and The Reader. She is currently at work on a translation of Jorge Ángel Pérez’s book of short stories, They’re Not So Elegant in Havana. She works at an organic bakery and is successfully growing her first tomato plant in Northampton, MA.

See Rebecca’s list of 5 Things tomorrow.