March 2023

Back to Issue 13

The Moment  

By Damen O’Brien

The universe files away these moments for an audit that never comes: 

the roses, burning their petals for a moment’s beauty; 

ladybeetle yoked to ladybeetle in amorous conjunction; 

a conga of ants trailing their treasure hunts amongst the thorns 

and everything slows to its absolute essence. 

I had the lower end of the heavy wood, 

my father, the upper, and waggling into the confusion of rosebushes, 

one insistent thorn poking its belligerence at my chest, 

another sawing though my hat. 

In the farmhouse, my mother taps irritably through the crack of her iPad, 

kilometres away in my constellations of connections, 

my wife rubs her eyes and blinks at numbers, slippery and dancing. 

This moment is the beginning of the end 

but what end that is, is not yet evident. 

He teeters with me, between us the beginnings of an archway, 

suspended over the disbelief of a rosebush, 

my father grunting at the tongue of an obstinate bolt 

and I would turn this moment over, examine its sharp edges 

its frozen snowflake of time, 

I could examine this shard of it, if I wanted, 

this moment when things begin to end. 

But to preserve we must destroy, and there are other moments 

peeling away from this, impossibly thin, 

and to live this moment fully, we must forsake the rest. 

Which one should I keep? 

The one where things begin to end, or some other where the ending 

was still far away? 

We place the cross-piece, make it safe, the sun frowns itself 

behind a cloud. 

This too, is a perfect moment. 

But it ends.  They are all beginning to end. 

We are wasting all the precious life we have.