Perspiring and Frantic Home – Isabelle Lloydd

By August 1, 2023 August 24th, 2023 2023 runner up

Perspiring and Frantic Home

Our voices are of dried leaves,
in contradiction to this endlessness of water,
this bathtub summertime.
Dried leaves belong to radiant Autumn,
we danced upon their blushing skin
in faint and evanescent yesteryears.
Our limbs are of creaking timber, the damp how it
penetrates depths unplumbed.
The months that basked in sweat must now
confusedly lug
buckets which rupture their plastic banks, and
spill a thousand leaks.
I push my singlets to the bottom of the draw,
and slowly I unpack long-sleeves.

Flesh of our lips, plunder of the fruit tree,
and our wordless throats the husk, the shattered pip.
Spilling promises sweet as peach,
promises as rotted as this slow wrecking ground
of crops.
Promises, promises, promises,
Can you hear me, or did my voice
just cut out,
and fall into darkness?
Has it fallen asleep beneath a fallen tree?

Beyond the gravel complexion of the city,
beyond the corrupted nursery song of traffic, alerts,
and machinery,
whose whining and wailing falls so rasping and tinny,
so coarse
upon the reddened drums of our ears,
we are liberated from the exhausting facades.
And there lie battlefields of unsoftened shapes,
dirt and diluted sweetness.
This nectarine’s curves delivering a firm syllable,
no supple obedience of furred skin.
And my days they do not ripen, for though they
warm rapidly
they blow and they cry.

Among the ashen blot, we consume and devour
as starved children cannot afford.
We churn out wastepaper baskets
crammed to their greedy front teeth, throats
Headlines bear a nervous tic of
foreboding, are millionaires of alarmism.
And in my morning pilgrimage to the shower,
I trip over lurid pixels.

Our waste is red roofed and dogged in shame.
Standing at its vigil by the curb, rain spotted,
for the rest of your lifetime and mine, it some days
A puddle lingers in my chest, a bubble
does not pop
upon the quail’s egg paving squares,
nor under those washing machine trees.
The power has surged and cut, and they haven’t
enough electricity,
not even enough to blow dry their leaves.

A father preaches of a generational shift
from four distinct seasons into two volatile unknowns.
Two vast and careless beasts
who take seconds from the soup tureen, until
its thinned guts grow to slump
within their ceramic shell.
Monstrous, they devour double the identity
and time of the year.
Rainy season and dry season, monsoon and drought.
Here lie the feral extremes
of global warming’s rising house.

From the bleak and bloodied edges
of our sight,
we gaze at your arctic expression, your
scalding, spitting candle of a mouth.
As you swoop to crush ours
and pull, snatch, drive away,
at the air we shelter in our umbrella chests.

I am terrified of you.

We film how our home perspires,
and when we listen closer her breath’s song is frantic.
There you go inhaling and stealing, and
there we go, paving your way.
Until the sea is no more than a stormwater drain
for our consumerism.
Until the land is left
an excavated body, wasted, emptied,
hollowed as if the bones of nature’s aircraft.
Like a pandemic supermarket shelf,
Mother Earth we are


Isabelle Lloydd
Year 12
St Mary’s College, Auckland

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