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I travel

Alone for a moment with the horizontal harbour. A vertical train, small wheeling me up the hill. A visit. Sun high. A glancing blow. My eyes. Mesmerised.

The golden city that side. Mystical. Pours from the hills, spills down the valleys, fills across the fore. Shore soft routed roman ogee.

Keruru crash. Wing flacking hard, horizontal past me.

Pare back my eyes. This side, crackling dry bush frames the golden city. This side, the funicular rundles the rails, lifting me to the house where the bush closes in.

I’m not alone now. She lies with me, half across my trousered lap.

Her face bathed in sun and the golden city.

Her head side, nestled into the small of my elbow.

She’s warm. She’s heavy. She’s breathing deeply. I don’t know her.

An eighties cut, clipped hard on the up side. Clipped soft on the sleeping side. A vigorous fringe. It shines. Tussled but holding shape over her curling ears.

An upturned nose, worn high. Aloofness, an allure. The even-toned golden cheek I can see, short-nicked at the smile line, is not so sure.

Makeup applied only to her pouting lips, assertive, almost brown. They glisten.

She drools, wetting my shirt sleeve.

And the funicular lifts us higher.

Her right hand lies on my knee. Fingers thick and strong. Hangnail forefinger. Indian ink rings on the tips. A scar drying across the knuckles.  Feeding from a singular long vein. A muscle pulses in the lee of her wrist; there is no refuge. She struggles and lifts it momentarily, drops and snuggles deeper.

And the funicular lifts us higher.

She’s dressed to travel. Coated in a scuffed black jacket. Wrapped in dark trousers. Tiny grey buttons march thin down outside the seam. Her ankle boots are purple. The leather is new but the toe tips are scuffed.

And the funicular lifts us higher.

That side, the golden city glowers. Nothing keeps to its place. Everything crosses over. Sun-heated neutrinos travel. Warm organic aerosol arrives. Transition to caress my eyelids. They are brushed shut.

The funicular jolts and stops.

The electric motor spins down. Friction-heated metal cools and creaks.

I stand, alone, shaky like a rustled sheep.

Fingers feel braille-like for the latch on the exit gate.

Robyn answers her door, opening it carefully before me. Crossing the first threshold, I wander in.

I stand, arrived, in the middle of the lounge.

Robyn says “Is it raining?”

and brushes at the damp patch on my shirt sleeve.