Armidale, June, 1997.
I, the frightened child,
stand gazing at the frosty mist
escaping from my mouth with every breath.
Though it hangs in space,
I feel my self to be
the nothingness of vapour.
My breath makes a mark where I do not,
I am unable to move forward or backward,
but instead I freeze also,
like the grass, the leaves,
the air around me.
I glance up the hill through the tunnel of trees.
I glance back down the hill, toward home,
my eyes sliding sideways, secretly,
not wanting to admit
I don't want to move in either direction.
The street is very quiet,
only the occasional bird wastes warmth on calling out
to a friend,
or a worm.
I am alone on the path.
'How long can I stay here?' I wonder,
lost in a vacuum of time between home and school.
The path obviously doesn't contain much interest in itself,
but I am tantalised, hypnotised, by the possibility
freezing into the background,
until the school day is over,
and I've run out of reasons not to go home.