Gathering evidence by Caoilinn Hughes

By Caoilinn Hughes

With pinpoint accuracy, virtuosity and humour, Caoilinn Hughes aligns clinical and poetic venturing. during this outstanding debut assortment she makes a speciality of moments of discovery, from the 1st managed nuclear response to the form of an avalanche as witnessed from its catchment quarter. those are epiphanies with results

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What a place to sit for sunrise. Teo frowns. ‘Hacemos una pausa, y subimos,’ he goads us on, lest our sweat glaciates. 52 In my pack, the camera battery has frozen. Water clatters. The blood develops alkaline. Again, the mind drifts: Teo resents us. He imagines how we would make his wife cower; draw the rare iron out of her like the violent magnets of industry. Her long-established plaits become tromino tessellations in the trance; the tongue; the Beckettian rhythm of our tortoise progress. Six kilometres into the sky, the gloom lifts enough to show your GPS device.

Friends scan the aisle, swallow hard. ’ Passengers gaze out the window, hard. One frowns, shakes her head so her short grey hairs float like wishless dandelion clock like banknotes. Another observes the bottlecaps, age-old discourse. ‘Yo mind tied up, s’why you lose. Be wishin’ for some birthday present nobody buy you? Folla de pea, win yo money back, buy yo own self souvenir. ’ He reaches for my wallet, then the pullcord. A man in a Giants hat gestures to the third bottlecap. His eyes implore.

His wife is anaemic and submissive to strangers. I think of her dyspnoea and wonder if it is contagious. In the middle, I am snowed under rented wardrobe. Overdosed on Diamox, Soroche, Advil (having tried two of each). Pins and needles fizz from tailbone to tear duct; cheeks moil; saliva spumes. I don’t expect to make the summit, but until the stomach gives, I measure evolution in footprint glyptics. You watch the teeth of my heels gouge the ice; see in my paces the ratio of our lives together: lives apart.

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