A Taste of Sandra's Published Work

Poetry

His Last Breath

Auburn hair hovers in useless air, rests on shoulders,

shrouds the back of his head.  Not yet old enough to ride

a two-wheel bike, he will ride the clouds to heaven. 

His body cold and limp, like too wet plaster

rests in my arms, never to laugh; never to cry.  Eyes,

shark like, roll back, reveal my own terror.  Their whites

do not sufficiently contrast against dead skin.

Lifeless, the sun shines on a smooth, stretched neck.

 

Who am I to mourn when all suffering has ended.


Sandra A Jobling

 

Bleak

My father took photos of

us at the snow

gumboot black

that’s how I remember him.

Sandra A Jobling

 

South Gate

Samsung five 0 seven in lights

with the dull afternoon sky

contesting the sun for ownership

in this hazy light where the sea gulls squeal

and one that looks over my shoulder

I write

QBE Insurance

aluminium carriages arrive

row along row

 

whilst, The Queen, a Melbourne river cruiser glides by.

Sandra A Jobling


The Fallen 2015

© Sandra Ann Jobling, 2001

Rain trickles along cracked mortar

forms a pool alongside an abandoned syringe

her white body folded correctly over the toilet bowl

suitable for a church yard death.

          

Veined leaves of orange turn brown

drift around Wesley ... a presence

in the garden overseeing Gothic darkness

In death he sung, 'I'll Praise My Maker While I Have Breath.'

 

Instructions

Sanctuary and Hospitality with Grace

a parcel of white powder caught in headlights

shuffles between hands.

 

My own hands tied

My mouth gagged

My soul weeps





Short Stories


Mea Lacrima

Sandra A Jobling  Jan 2012

 I caught it as it fell. A moment before its falling the tear squeezed its way from the pink rim of my eye and escaped to roll down my cheek. As it dropped I caught it in the palm of my hand. I trembled and the tear shot colours spinning into the light until, with a steady breath, I became still. Careful, very careful not to spill the tear I turned my hand this way and that to study its light, always watchful in case it slipped through my fingers.

The tear was pure. A tear spilt not for myself but for the world, for the death of the great blue whales that glide through the seas with salt water washing over and past them as they made their way North. My tear is for the death of a world lost due to abandoned dreams. This was my awakening. I poured that tear into a bottle for its preservation. I wanted to see if it would sing of past glories. But it was silent. It was silent for many days and nights.

One evening I noticed a strange glow pulsating from the bottle. Slowly the outer light of the tear crystallised, forming a crust. A beat came, a soft pulsating beat. By the light gently streaming through my window the tear took on a glow while its beat kept the rhythm of my heart. It shone many lights. It was of particular beauty, like an ice sculpture created by a skilled artisan.

Each week I turned the bottle hoping that my tear would tell me a truth. Each week its crystalline exterior thickened. Each week it became harder to see the fluid in amongst the nearly opaque crystal. Each week I knew it was hardening. By the end of the month my tear was pure crystal reflecting a dull light. In the morning light it had a sterile quality. When the evening came it burnt with a soft glow.

Fascinated, not wanting to let the tear out of my sight and afraid there were no other pure tears, I twisted a fine gold thread around it, secured the ends, and made sure the thread was long enough to place over my head. In the morning, after my shower, I noticed the crystal beating; its pale light reflected in my bedroom mirror. Compelled not to leave it alone I placed the gold thread over my head. The crystal swung rhythmically as I went about my chores. But I felt a strange sort of coldness pressed against my skin. When the evening came the crystal felt like ice. Instinct told me to take it off but separation seemed unthinkable.  I heard its strange low voice say, ‘release me ... let me go.’

The words haunted me but to listen to a tear was insane. My mind wandered the corridors of madness while my tear spoke to me of seas that moved beyond Earth. I heard of the currents that controlled the light and darkness of the Moon. I became washed up in a tide when the full moon peered through the window. It was true for I was as wet as a freshly caught fish and I dripped small pools that swirled on the floor of my room.

Pools became rivers that roared through my passageways neatly creating banks of air against my walls while keeping to its course. Thankfully the waters did not enter my main rooms. I considered implementing the request, ‘let me go’ but it would be like parting with my soul.

It was the day I usually pulled weeds from the flower beds but I wanted to be with my tear, to watch the formation of perfection. Yet I could not take it outside where the sun would be too warm for it. I decided the day would be best spent dusting and sorting out old books to take to the Brotherhood. The old book case was passed down from great-uncle Renato. Father loved that old man and before father took his last breath he asked me to take care of the case and all the books. It was really the last thing I was interested in and I never found the time to sort through it. Old people often store cash in between the leaves of their favourite book but a layer of dust sat on the closed pages.

While I went about dusting one of the books fell to the floor breaking open its spine. Dust spread everywhere. I sneezed. I watched through watery eyes as dust, floating on a stream of sunlight, moved slowly across the room to settle once more on the open book. When I picked the book up the leaves were worn where one would turn the pages. The title was Mea Lacrima. It was Latin – Mea being my but I wasn’t sure what lacrima meant. On the cover was an image of a dark haired European woman with a tear in her eye. When I touched the picture it was wet – the woman with the dark eyes wept.

My crystal tear felt warm on my neck. A fragment fell away. Carefully I took the crystal in my hand and with the other hand I took hold of the wire to lift over my head. At first the wire seemed short and caught around my throat but as I pulled the wire lengthened and I pulled it over my head and placed the crystal on the little table beside my bed. The crystal continued to grow warmer. When I looked I saw clearly in the middle of the crystal my tear glistening, rolling, almost laughing. Its animation was quite astonishing. I sat and watched the crystal until the tear became quiet. Its light grew dim. At one point I though the crystal’s light was so faded that it would die. I was frightened I might lose it forever.

In the evening I slipped my nightie over my head and put the tear out of my mind. I made myself a cup of warm milk and delighted in its silky smoothness before slipping between fresh white sheets. I rested on my pillow and thought of tomorrow. The evenings had become long and slow and so I buried my head in the pillow until blackness crept in. In the blackness was a man made of a tear. He rolled along with the ocean waves and at times I became afraid in case he was swallowed by the sea. The near consuming of this tear-man became quite rhythmical and I watched mesmerised as if listening to a concert that completely held my attention. I watched the slow powerful roll of the waves as they washed up on the shore. And I watched the tear-man roll back and forwards to the beat of the waves, as if the waves were his partner in some sensual dance.

Then, not at all surprised, I saw the tear-man caught off-guard and swept out to sea. Yet, the rawness of the situation grabbed me. I saw myself with a pained look on my face and my eyes became red and watery. Then out of the wave came two tears, one a man and the other a woman. The woman looked familiar and I racked my brains to remember where I had seen her. I searched my memory and found the face with the dark eyes that held tears belonged to the woman on the cover of Mea Lacrima. Then it happened again, the man-tear was swept up by the ocean. He reached out for the woman and the woman-tear reached out for him. As they touched they shed tears of joy. Many tears formed and the ocean raged. Tear upon tear formed and spilled like a great waterfall spilling into the ocean. Then the water abated. The ocean washed back and faded into itself, the tears dried.

In the morning I woke feeling tired but elated. I looked for the crystal tear on the table and at first I thought it was gone but it had just slid under a cloth. Satisfied all was right I changed out of my cotton nighty with the small pink flowers and pulled on a white shirt and blue shorts. It was one of those cool summer days that don’t warrant a summer dress but anything warm would still have you coming out in a light sweat. With the slight breeze it was the perfect day for washing. I gathered my clothes into a pile and waded through the water running along my passageway. I placed my clothes into the washing machine. I added a decent dash of bleach. I wondered if it was enough and so I added some more.

I went back through the water to my bedroom to hold my tear but it was not on the table. I looked under the cloth but it had gone. I had put my nightie on top of the little table and my mouth gaped open when I realised what I had done. Still it might be alright I had used the cold water cycle. I raced back through the water, half striding and half swimming, to the washing machine and I threw every piece of clothing out of that machine. I searched all my attire, every seam and ran my hand along the bottom of the washing machine but it wasn’t there. This was a death I hadn’t expected. I slowly walked back through the passageway where the water was receding, to my bedroom. I was calm because looking at it in perspective it was only a tear. When I turned to go back out of my room I caught my reflection in the mirror. I stared at the reflection. I stared at the dark haired lady of the book. I watched as her hand reached out from the reflection and in that hand she held a crystalline tear. It was a gift. It was her tear given to me.

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