Jen Webb is Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice, and Dean of Graduate Research, at the University of Canberra. Recent books include Researching Creative Writing (Frontinus, 2015), Art and Human Rights: Contemporary Asian Contexts (Manchester UP, 2016), and the poetry collections Moving Targets (Recent Work Press, 2018) and Flight Mode (with Shé Hawke; RWP, 2020). She is co-editor of the literary journal Meniscus and the scholarly journal Axon: Creative Explorations, the Mandarin/English collection 窗口:当代澳大利亚诗歌—英汉对照选集 | Open Windows: Contemporary Australian Poetry; and, with Kavita Nandan, Writing the Pacific.
This is a photograph of you (for JP)
Your face at the north-facing window and behind the window Borealis shines, billowing multicoloured scarves, its invitation to the dance.
You dance pas de deux, him going in for glissade, you a jeté, both of you stumble on landing but no matter, it’s just a tap on the edges of consciousness, just a ripple in the pool, and you dance on, step pivot step, till your feet kick up rainbows in the startled air.
I observe, from my watch house; I will not ask you to step out of the vehicle; I will not ask you to surrender your licence. I will dance with you, back and forth in a tireless loop. Determined that we will find the gold at rainbow’s end.
You wake to find yourself lost. A trace of day has snaked beneath the covers, trees revert to grey, early birds stretch their wings and you squat, a frog beside cool water, to wash the night off your skin. To the south is a roof you recognise, to the north that familiar hum, you are home or close to home, all sides in sync. You think you might stitch a path from here to there, a tapestry made of height and depth and time. Sun is higher now, and the first flies touch your face, tentatively.