Alyson Miller


Metals (II)

On a street that smells like fresh grass and packed lunches, she watches an old couple tumble across the road, moving away from something unseen, but heard. The sound falls against the window, a violence of words that hits the glass and strikes the couple now crouching behind the letterbox, holding plastic bags full of groceries to their chests. A man, or maybe a woman, skeletal and dressed in virgin white, moves down the footpath like something haunted, hunted, a long sword in one hand; a machete in the other. Behind the curtain she listens hard, wondering what the old man is whispering to his wife, her round face caught between his palms so firmly her mouth is trapped, wet and fish-like. They are safe in this moment. From the radio, the hourly news exhales into the room, punctuated by the echo of a growl, a shouted fuck, and the ghostly ring of metal moving through the air.



Alyson Miller teaches literary studies at Deakin University, Geelong, Australia. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in both national and international publications, with a book of literary criticism, Haunted by Words: Scandalous Texts, forthcoming (Peter Lang).