by Cassandra Moss
Living through history, by Cassandra Moss.
I want to escape my sober thoughts
and become undone
under foreign skies.
So I drift along canals, watching
tourists overwhelm patient streets,
listening to their voices compete
and strain through air
like boiled bread in a colander.
I sit behind a group of friends
at a cafe, drinking, smoking,
on their lurid stories about themselves
as my attention
shifts to purple petals
all around me,
whose colour is respiring
and impossible to describe
as a rational sensation,
as it is a ludicrous result
of light and anatomy,
I start to pursue a conversation
with a man I barely see anymore.
His absence is a constant presence in my head
where we always argue
and I hear him comment negatively on
one of the group in front of me’s stories,
him saying what political naivety to need
a stranger’s decency.
But halfway through the fury of my reply
I change the subject
and we start to laugh over an old in-joke
from when we were both broke shut-ins.
I walk down a narrow path behind a church,
still exhaling pungent smoke,
catching sight of three boys bragging
about the prostitutes they’ve just used,
them saying they still have some money leftover for more.
I envy the exactitude of their transaction
and try to picture three girls in the same situation,
proud of what they’ve bought,
bold in the reality of their passion.
I stop at a bridge, casting my eyes down to the rippling water,
concentric circles peeling out
into the indivisible mass of the canal –
my mind is full and light.
I wonder about the power
of the sun behind the cloud
and if the future will reveal itself
as our star does by peaking
out and sprinkling its sweat
yet glistening on top.
Cassandra Moss was born in Manchester, England. She moved to London to study English with Film at King’s College and subsequently worked in the film industry and as an ESL teacher.
After completing an MPhil in Linguistics at Trinity College Dublin she now lives and writes by the sea.
Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including Squawk Back, The Passage Between, Posit, Sunspot Lit, The Bangalore Review, Interpret Magazine, Goat’s Milk Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, The Write Launch, and New York Quarterly.
IG @cassandra_moss / Twitter @CassandraPMoss