An excerpt from Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall by Jane Jervis-Read

Eloise wakes before me. She walks to the front door and into the yard. I hear the lid of the mailbox open and shut. Outside, the day is bright, a tram is passing on the main road and, sitting on an electrical wire above the house, a magpie is singing.

When Eloise sleeps she ceases to fret. I know the velvety blinds of her eyelids and the rise and fall of her chest beneath its nightshirt, beneath the sheets – three weeks soiled and waiting for me to change them. But Eloise doesn’t notice.

She is in the kitchen now. The kettle boils and she opens a cupboard which pops from its catch.

It’s time for me to get up, to help her with these things, to make her breakfast – which will be toast because it is always toast. Then she will go to her studio and I won’t be able to waylay her a moment.

‘Shouldn’t you have a shower?’ I will say, and she will turn her head towards me then away and say she had one yesterday.

‘What about brushing your teeth?’

But she will already be walking out the back, screen door sighing closed behind her, slippers scuffing the concrete, spanning the distance between the kitchen and the shed.

The corrugated roof casts a shadow over the entrance. Against the steel wall is flotsam junk: a cracked plant pot, a wheel without its tyre, the rusted frame of a golf buggy. But inside the shed a world awaits. From the window I watch the shadow drink her in.

A Xoum Publication.
    Jane Jervis-Read

    Jane Jervis-Read’s writing has been published in Overland, Eureka Street and Cordite Poetry Review. Her first book, Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall, won the 2013 Seizure Viva La Novella competition. She lives by Melbourne’s Yarra River with three housemates, six goldfish and ten thousand flying foxes.