a day off

After breakfast, I clean windows for two hours, inhaling the Windolene. It’s so blue and potent and grease-cutting. Maybe if the windows are clean I will see more clearly.

Clean my glasses.

Clean my eyes.

Clean my brain.


I have coffee with a friend and we talk for a long time about her exit plans. She’s off. It feels like the last supper. It feels like the launch of a great ship. I think about how I’m staying and all that that means. I think about how staying is not the same as not going anywhere. I’ve got a long way to go, right here.


When I get home, there is a small boy who covers me in ‘chicken kisses’, pecking at my face with pursed lips. He says, ‘You are my chicken-Mum!’.

There is warm banana cake. There is flour all over the floor – too pretty to sweep up. I can only clean one thing a day.


‘She looks like / she walked out / the middle of / somebody’s blues’     -Blondie


We talk about a feijoa orchard, a lavender farm. Our daydreams usually have plants in them, plants and land. In our daydreams we don’t owe money and people leave us alone. It’s peaceful and sweat counts for something.

He goes to the supermarket for milk and he comes back with medicine. The medicine is fizzy and tastes like pear cider.


Even when I am connected I am aware of myself being aware I am connected and in this awareness of my awareness, I feel alone.


‘If you’re a kid and no one will play with you / stick it out, stay tough! and you’ll turn out super-cool.’

-Kimya Dawson


Today we gaze at our navels. Tomorrow, we work.

4 thoughts on “a day off

  1. Aw, sorry, Helen. Didn’t mean to make people sad. Thanks for the compliment, though. Yesterday felt entirely sad to me, even though it was a lovely sunny day off. Sometimes days just get tinged with a predominant feeling, don’t they?


  2. Notwithstanding the melancholy, newspaper is hands-down the best window cleaner! Wash the glass with soapy water and then rub it with bunched up sheets of newspaper until it gleams.

    Helen, I can’t find an email contact for you. Could you email me when you get a chance. I have a couple of poetry related things I want to ask you.


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