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Nightfall in a Fenced Arcadia

Gliding through the half-dark, this preternatural humidity caresses my skin like an unseen lover. I am the moth’s muffled flight through twilight, borne by the hum and whir of bicycle wheels. I’m seeking the moon — or hoping it finds me.

Jagged teeth of buildings gnash against the skyline.  This city — lock-jawed in lockdown, holding me hostage for months, clamped tight on us all — finally risks a yawn,  just wide enough for my eyes to catch a crescent moon, rising  on the steam of humidity. Moon keeping pace with me, on my bicycle seat with a view.

Can I fill my tyres with helium, drifting upwards like a balloon to meet the moon?  Leaning into the curve of its amber aura, coasting the boundary between dark and light. These imaginings, symptoms of lunacy, and as soon as I question the impossible, I fall —

back to earth like Icarus, back into my body — the seductive night removing my coat . I’m a red streak red bike in the night — dreaming of meteors.   Fast, but lacking levity, trapped in gravity.

Selene is shy tonight, revealing only the glow of a smile behind lowered veil . Or the tease of a wink, beneath a kohl-shaded lid.  Her charms, made more elusive with distance, she’s a mistress of mystery tonight.  Aching into her full potential—

like the night-drunk whoops — mating cries from mouths unmasked in defiance. Erupting from the dark of the park I pass through — although gates of this fenced Arcadia close at curfew.  Cries underscored by pulsing beats of music, aural offerings to the wild gods — as they try to fit feet to cloven-footed imprints in the grass of their mythic unconscious.  Untamed choreographies of unbridled ecstasies, as they try to spring fur from their follicles.  All their wildness not quite lost, but not quite found. Impatient for their own full moons — they’re howling for the lack.

Look up, beyond Selene’s subtle beauty — to a silver-sequined Venus, glittering audacity. Eclipsing Antares with her radiance, flirting brazenly with the sting in Scorpius’ tail — she’s survived some slings and arrows in her time. Her burning brightness sparks a longing — preternatural — for you.   Alone, amongst this frantic bacchanal , the ache of your absence sears through me,  like the sting of Scorpius in my blood. And the night sky, lake-still, reflects back only your face.

I yearn into the dark, into the distance, uttering your name—and I know you hear me, across this starlit infinity—with the heart-bound instinct of your inner ear. I imagine our bare feet, finding those wild imprints.

Skin scented with humidity, laughter rising to meet the moon.

2 thoughts on “Nightfall in a Fenced Arcadia”

  1. Avatar photo

    Gorgeous, Melissa!

    This line in particular struck a chord:
    “I’m a red streak red bike in the night — dreaming of meteors.   Fast, but lacking levity, trapped in gravity.”

  2. Avatar photo

    Thanks for reading, Nicola. I wrote this after a particuarly strange night in the midst of Melbourne’s very long pandemic lockdown. I look back now, & think what a uniquely strange time it was – but so glad I recorded scenes of it through my creative writing!

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