Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen." was originally hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.
Today, Magdalena Ball is reading from her book Bobish. Magdalena is a novelist, poet, reviewer and interviewer who grew up on Lenape land (NY) in the US, and currently lives and writes on Awabakal land (NSW) in Australia. She is Managing Editor of Compulsive Reader, and her work has been widely published in literary journals such as Meanjin, Cordite, and Westerly, along with many anthologies, and is the author of a number of fiction and poetry books, most recently, Bobish, a verse-memoir published by Puncher & Wattmann.
Click on the soundbar below to hear
Solitude was the feedback loop
she'd sailed in on.
Every shade of blue reduced, saturated
Her eyes became a kaleidoscope
spiralling with the water, refracted
through tears she kept from falling
as the boat steamed towards a destination
imagined and unknown. She was younger
then she looked and she looked like a child.
The steamship was so cramped she claimed
the space beneath her feet just to breathe.
Do I look sick in the eyes?
The sky and the ocean reflected one another
polarised light roiling with the boat.
She swallowed her sickness.
Sickness was not allowed so she kept
her head up, straightened narrow shoulders.
When the boat docked, the city opened from
the deck in blue cobwebs, spirals, tunnels
an interconnected pattern she would learn
to understand. There were so many people
it took three days to disembark. She had been
promised a house, a job, food.
Dizzy, she grabbed the rail for balance.
When she earned enough she would
send a ticket for her parents
if she could find them again.
In the meantime, memory was Prussian Blue
a cyanotype carried like ghostly love.