Box cutter

I have his god to thank for this. ‘My god,’ he says. ‘Do you understand? The true god.’ This is what he tells me as he presses the blade into my neck, testing the contrary forces of hard metal and skin.

I try to think clearly. I feel an urge I’ve never felt. ‘What’s his name?’ I say between choking gasps. ‘This god of yours, what do you call him?’

He hisses a name to my ear as he hauls me along the corridor. The knife draws its first drop.

I repeat the name. ‘…are you there? Can you hear me?’

‘He won’t listen to you,’ my captor spits. ‘You’re nothing.’

‘It hardly seems fair.’ I try another tack. ‘Lord?’ I whisper. I call to the god of lazy Sunday-school mornings.

The blade pushes in. It matters little. My life will soon be drained from me. I think of my family, my friends, my lover, as if it is they that will spill so pointlessly, staining the carpet, leaving me with nothing.

No deity, neither his nor the one my parents hoped I’d trust, answers my call. ‘Is he a loving God?’ I say. ‘Is he beautiful? Is he caring?’

‘Shut up,’ he says. His angry red face quivers. He pushes in further.

‘Is he glorious?’

‘Shut up.’ Pressure parts the skin along the stainless line.

‘Is he wonderful?’ I say.


‘He’s all those things, isn’t he? He’s glorious and wonderful.’ I say.

His dark eyes narrow.

‘And forgiving, too. He loves without question those who love him. Like you, my friend. You he’ll love for eternity.’

The blade cuts through with fury. The first red spurts pump onto him. I watch his spattered face, victorious at first then turning blank.

‘This is it then. His destiny?’ My last words. I slump into the pool, the warmth of it all my own. I drag my life down with me. It warms me as it seeps. The people I love. The things we could have done

‘Stay alive you bastard,’ he yells but I’m almost gone. He starts dragging me desparately towards the control room. He doesn’t understand how easy it is for me to die here on this carpet among thoughts of my friends. To embrace them in this way and depart with them before we reach the door. I’m the one who knows the code. I’m the one who can disarm the security. It’s a system as elaborate as it is simple for it needs only me, and I will be gone.

As I die I’m wondering how his god will punish his failure. His god. His beautiful god.

The crash

(Sonnets might just be the thinking person’s limerick. Every now and then I feel compelled to write one)

The Crash

They planted peas the day the markets fell
in measured rows, each one spade’s-width apart
and watered them and covered them as well
in mesh to keep the hungry possums out.
No jitters to distract them as they dug,
while stopped for tea they talked of their new home,
the day was warm the baby sleeping snug
allowed rare time to share their time alone.
No queer vibration worth the slightest note
disturbed their day. The indexes’ dive south,
downtown, sent ripples through the Lightcorp float,
but no sign here. She traced his hard, sweet mouth
and breathed a little lighter for it seemed
she had not erred to dream what she had dreamed.
At five the baby cried out for a feed
her husband watched it suckle at her breast
If this was lust, he thought, then lust was need
and that enough. Where greed, not need, was best,
in city towers, broker’s screens flashed red
their urgency, as if the world might tip.
She wiped her breast, their happy daughter fed,
then, buttoning her shirt, saw his glance slip.
so flashed cream flesh and then a smile his way
and said, lest unsaid things be left to chance,
‘the silverbeet can wait another day.’
They kissed. A bank of monitors blipped once
the screens, refreshed, announced another loss.
They went inside. A shower passed across.
Wall Street opened lower to their snore.
In Asia anxious markets followed too.
She rose for feeds at one and then at four,
Lit only by the television blue
she let her daughter snuggle in and slurp.
‘…in crisis talks…’ a late-night newsbreak said.
She patted the girl’s back to make her burp
then laid her in her cot and kissed her head
and went to rest. He turned and nuzzled close.
‘Tired Love?’ he said. She barely heard,
but heard enough to know that words like those
meant every bit as much as any word.
For careless words in billions broadcast round
knew not of love nor peas in fresh-tilled ground.