‘Cartography’
by Jordie Albiston

What is the space between Altona and Eltham
but a handful of miles on a paperscrap map…

What is the space between Altona and Eltham
but a handful of miles on a paperscrap map.
I am writing this from the next room.  I am
tapping these lines in time to my un-tapped

heart.  What is a heart but an uncertain gap
dividing a can’t from its curtain of can.  There
is a word to the right of my hand.  A trap
to think further than here, or there, the where

and when of it all.  What is the length of air
in this case, the strength of the breath as yet
barely begun.  A dog licks my leg as I stare.
What is this screen but a city of lights, set

out like a series of waves in a bay-side net.
I am trying to picture its wet western face.
I am trying to bring to mind yours.  I offset
this distance with notions of nearness, pace

myself with the smallness of time and of place.
There is a here to a there, a forever to the start
of all things.  What is an old mile but a space
between waves, what is a harbour but a heart.