David Adès is the author of Mapping the World (Wakefield Press / Friendly Street Poets, 2008), the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eterna(Garron Publishing, 2015) and Afloat in Light (UWA Publishing, 2017).

Photograph: Anne Henshaw

Life is Elsewhere

 ~ Milan Kundera

else the universe removes its cloak of dark matter and reveals
the strings of stars lying behind it

else the universe is not the universe at all but another and another

else the road taken is not one but many
and the road not taken is multiples of many

else life is smoke and mirrors behind which other lives

else wind is a giant hand brushing away
clouds of anger

else love is a prized toy, too easily discarded

else our eyes see and see nothing,
we walk, oblivious, in quicksand

else story is whisper, horizon, clouds piling up and up

else nothing is truth except lies,
told and untold,

where the volcano shifts and rumbles

where the girl hides inside herself,
where the words are spoken into the air

where everything is forsaken for love

where expediency trumps morality,
where politics outweighs compassion

where the wave of indifference is a tsunami

where the damaged and wounded
walk invisibly among us

where everyone speaks and no one is heard

where denial subverts and distorts truth,
where rationalisations deny accountability

where we cannot support the weight of our hypocrisy

where we fail to overcome the litany
of our failures.