This Island Home

by Oz Hardwick

Tunnels open up beneath every conversation, leading to specific points in the shared past: the twin towers swallowing themselves in dust, or twisted metal in a Paris subway. It’s always trauma, but if you remember your keys and turn instead through the smaller doors, you may find yourself on an endless beach, thigh deep in warm sea, with a lover’s hands light on your waist. There’s a sailboat in the distance and a man on the cliff edge who could be waving or flying, and a stoppered bottle bobs in the surf. When you look inside you find dried seeds and hummingbird bones, a baby’s first teeth and a note written in lemon juice. It tells you it’s time to go back and face those shared traumata, to lay flowers and sign books of condolences; that it’s time to weigh your own losses against the things that last. You lock the door behind you and rejoin the conversation, the print of a hand still warm – or cold – beneath your ribs.


Oz Hardwick is Professor of Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University (UK), author of all kinds of stuff, and inveterate somnambulist and psychogeographer (sometimes simultaneously).