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Issue One, Summer 2011

Persimmon Press proudly presents the inaugural edition of Winged Seeds for the summer of 2010–2011 conceived, birthed and edited by Anthony Fennell Bronwyn James Alex O‟Brien though, in truth, we are all entirely indebted to Kay Rozynski Kevin Brophy not only for their guidance, but creating a subject that required this of us. if you crave contact, details or magazine related information, please email or visit the cover was designed by Alex O‟Brien the views expressed in Winged Seeds, no matter how brilliant, inspiring or troubling they might be, are entirely those of the contributors, and in no way reflect the views of the editors. all non-attributed images are used fairly and gratefully under the terms of creative commons practice. copyright belongs to the individual contributors, and no part of their work can be re-produced, re-published – in whole or part – without the particular contributor’s express written consent.

Contents Hans Ammitzboll North by South

Sarah Wreford Of Skin and Insects

Natasha Jansz The Other Side

Georgia Mill In Salt Water

Matt Lacorcia Of Stones and Feathers

6 15 23 29 38


Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


words and music by

Hans Ammitzboll interviewed by

Anthony Fennell

Image source:

North by South

Song Number One – 52 bpm

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


AF: Which work of other artist/s in Winged Seeds did you decide to collaborate with and why?

AF: In which order would you recommend that our readers take the scores and the corresponding songs on CD and where would be the best reading and listening location? HA: I wrote the first two scores and therefore the first two songs on the CD for Sarah‟s short story. They can be listened to in reverse order (if the reader wishes), and I would suggest that as

© N. Jansz 2009

HA: I live near and work within the bushland of the Mornington Peninsula National Park, which also includes coastal environments like Cape Schanck, Bushrangers Bay, Flinders, and Gunnamatta. It‟s strange and maybe mythic territory: a ship-wreck coast of sorts, and home to colonial violence and conflict between Settlers and the Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nation. Yet today the land and its frontier stories are covered over with the sprawl of suburbia, its shopping centres, wineries, restaurants, and their consumerist narratives (which is why, I suppose, the Peninsula boasts the label of „Melbourne‟s playground‟). It‟s a strange and alienating feeling to live in and amongst the supposed domestic lifestyle which has literally and figuratively come to cover a history of violence in such a short space of time. It almost seems like everybody is playing a big trick and that the earth

is in on it too, and that maybe one day the facade will slip and the streets will fracture and swallow everybody up. I guess that it‟s this mystery beneath the surface (made more peculiar because of the simplicity of the surface) that appealed to me in Sarah Wreford‟s short story „Of Skin and Insects‟. For me, the character of the mother represented the slipping suburban facade and the tumult beneath calm appearance – much like the seaside where she takes her children – being both an idealized safe haven for family fun and a dangerous place of depth, mystery and of course death.


North By South

Song Number Two – 54 bpm

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


‘Buffalo Skull Pile’ (to be ground for fertilizer) by Anon., published c. 1870.

obvious as it sounds, the seaside – preferably on a windy, rough, and lonely day – is a great listening location. I spent time at a beach in Westernport Bay to get in amongst Sarah‟s short story and its mood. The salty breeze, the smell of seaweed, the squawking seagulls and the sea stretching to the horizon definitely fed into the overall sound of the songs. Just don‟t get sand or water in your instruments if you choose to learn the scores at the beach! The last score (written over two pages), and therefore the third song on the CD, seems a little dissociated from the spirit of Sarah‟s short story. It seems to possess an upbeat sense of adventure, so perhaps it could be listened to on the walk to the seaside to preface the unsettling, slow, and pensive sounds of the first two songs. AF: Should our readers stick rigidly to the scores and the specific instruments as written, or would you recommend experimentation?


HA: I kept the scores simple so that there could be some experimentation. The recorded songs on CD are interpretations of these scores, because as you can hear there isn‟t any piano and there is a simple drum line in the second song. I like the idea of using found objects (that have acoustic qualities) as non-traditional instruments. For example, I have access to corrugated iron, slate, wood, glass jars and gravel, all of which can be struck, scraped, or sifted to make interesting sounds. I‟ve been in the process of moving house and most of my instruments are packed away, but I have a lot of cardboard boxes lying around, one of which I used as a makeshift drum in the second song. So by all means experiment and use the songs as a springboard to create other soundscapes or even paintings, photographs, short stories or poems. AF: Were there other winds of influence, within the world of myth and fairytale, which gave spirit to these

North By South

songs aside from the work which they collaborate with and accompany? HA: I suppose there were other writings or certain images that fed into the first and second songs which I‟d experienced around the time of writing and recording. One is an excerpt from the manuscript journals of Alexander Henry, an early English explorer of North Dakota (taken from Larry Woiwode‟s Beyond the Bedroom Wall): „Jan. 14, 1801. At daybreak I was awakened by the bellowing of buffaloes ... The Plains were black, and appeared as if in motion, S. to N. ... I had seen almost incredible numbers of buffalo in the fall, but nothing in comparison to what I now beheld. The ground was covered at every point of the compass, as far as the eye could reach, and every animal was in motion.‟ „April 1, Wednesday. The river was

clear of ice, but the drowned buffalo continue to drift down by herds ... It really is astonishing what vast quantities must have perished, as they formed one continual line in the middle of the river for two days and two nights.‟ These passages and accompanying pictures suggested to me the bittersweet nature of so many myths that take rise and reside in contemporary Western societies. That is, the great swathes of buffalo that wound a ribbon around the prairies and plains of America were hunted to the edge of extinction at the hands of human violence and hyperconsumerism, and it is this approximate obliteration which has, to my mind, most assuredly made them „mythic‟. So for me it seems as if the creation of the mythic (or at least that which some societies have deemed worthy to elevate in remembrance or mourning) has, to a large degree, destruction at its core

‘Buffalo Galloping’ by Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), published in 1887.

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


Song Number Three – 90 bpm


North By South


Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


or as its springboard. Perhaps it is then that „mythmaking‟ is somewhat grotesque: buffaloes often only remembered because of the violence that beset them and deemed worthy of admiration after the fact of their near or complete obliteration. It‟s troublesome that it takes the threat of their disappearance to ensure their appreciation and survival. It‟s a very find line to tread and is one which humankind constantly straddles, often without success. However, having mythic narratives of animals (written in the „active‟ voice) within society may also be necessary to help restore mere memory to reality, if not literally – in the case of the buffalo, bred back into existence – then at least as a moral tale or omen to ward off inequitable, hyperconsumerist human behaviours which so often bring about the annihilation of other species. The audio of Hans’s can be found exclusively online, free of charge, at Ws


North By South

Image source: Shaire Productions



interviewed by Bronwyn James


tried to ignore the smell of overripe fruit lacing my nostrils, tried to avoid looking at their small, tender bodies waiting to be peeled and ripped open. But I could do nothing about the noise. It felt as if the delicate skin of my eardrums had perforated. A muffled scratching scratching was all the tiny shells in my middle ear could do to make sense of the waves coming in. The ticking rhythm scrambled everything and I felt that I was being eaten alive, from the inside out, by insects click click clicking their pincers through flesh. The withered man beside me in the queue nudged his elbow gently into my arm. Beautiful colour. He indicated my strawberries with a gnarled finger, smiling so the pearly white of his teeth shocked me, and for a minute everything was quiet again. My ears returned to themselves, noises and insects sucked back into a great dark void. I peered, blurry eyed, at the pile of fruit and nodded, returned my attention to the concrete floor. When I got home I held the keys carefully to the door, wanting everything to be quiet, hoping there would be no metal scraping into the barrels deep within the lock. There was one click. I shrugged the door away, placed the keys down on the bureau and slipped off my shoes. I was hot underneath my jumper so I pulled it over my head and it fell away from me like a petal. I wanted water. The shells in my ears began to echo. I heard a knock at the door, the scrape of another key. Kate? We’re home! The nanny found me in the kitchen, Henry in her arms. They’ll sleep well tonight. Annie and Jack toddled in after her. I heard them moving, breathing, sighing through a dream, all static and shimmering. So I smiled at her and took the envelope from the windowsill above the sink, exchanging it for Henry.


Of Stones and Feathers

She left with a promise that she‟d return in two days. I turned to my children. Would you like to see the ocean? Shall we go to the beach? Annie and Jack chortled in agreement and Henry looked up at me with eyes as big as moons.


unbuckled the children and they hopped out of the car, humming in its shadow, waiting for me to release Henry from the strapping of his seat. Go on. I sung the magic words and they came alive, skipped towards the grass of the foreshore to hunt for sticks, rocks, feathers, charcoal. My little natives. I watched as their fair curls, stung by the wind, shifted around their cheeks. Grit lodged itself underneath their fingernails and burrs latched onto their clothes. Henry watched them too, between his eyelashes, mimicking their coos with little gasping sounds and a wriggle in my arms. Let’s go to the water.

We fought against the onshore breeze, over the scratchy, grassy dune to the beach. Wind seared the skin of my face, pressed itself into my nostrils and down to my lungs. I let it sit there for a second, as I had done every visit for years, and wondered if this angry, potent place was something like another world. Descending from the crest, Annie and Jack clung to my side again. They felt the invisible string just as I did. I stopped near the bottom and we waited, taking in the ribbon of horizon and the foamy lip of water that kissed the sand again again again. I peeked down at their faces; they stood hand in hand, pious and as lovely as angels. I touched their arms, one after the other. They understood and bobbed away to trawl through the sand for more treasures. I spied a rock jutting out from the dune and moved across to sit down, making sure Henry‟s blanket exposed no part of his body to the breeze. He lay quietly on my lap and we watched the twins against the smoky water like two gold medallions, their soft, secret whispers floating back to us on the wind. My eyes burned. I felt a twinge in my temple and gripped Henry‟s tiny wrist, rubbed my thumb over the

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


inside where the skin is translucent-blue. The children gripped shells in both hands and stood ankle-deep together at the edge. I blinked and an insect pinched again behind my eye. They shuffled around in the water and moved out to where it licked their knees. I got up from the rock and padded my way towards them, Henry curled into my chest. Jack swiveled as I approached, holding both the shells and his pants out of the water. The hems were soaked. Doesn’t matter. He released them, exhilarated. I waded out, listening to the clicking and the sloshing of the waves. I could feel water landing on my legs and arms and I could see the nest reflected in the marble-coloured sky. I reached up to press my temples, squeeze the bridge of my nose. I was waist high in water. The breeze whipped past me, wailing wailing.


loorboards creaked. A shuffle. Blankets were tucked around me, pressed into my sides, swaddling me. I could tell the hours had strung me along like a rag doll. My insides were clotted, swelling with their own heat. My thoughts were soupy, estranged from my body, free to somersault where they would, weaving in and around the pincers. I lay back and listened to the soft clicking, deep down, reverberating from the base of my skull in waves and waves. I tasted sea water. Eyes still closed, I sensed a figure cut through the air, move away; the whirl left behind smelled of tuberose. Jilly, Jilly. Yes, my darling, how do you feel? Shadows flickered across my eyelids as she lowered her face to mine. Even her breath was sweet. You look a bit queer, Katherine. You came to me all wet and sandy. Did you forget your swimming trunks? My tongue was sticky in my mouth and she pressed a glass into my hand. I opened my eyes just a little and looked at her through the gaps, brought the rim to my lips. Water swelled to my cheeks. I swallowed. And again. I was in Jillyâ€&#x;s lounge room, on a thick day-bed with a carved, wooden back. She sat on a stool watching me over her glasses. Are you hungry? Shall I make us tea?


Of Stones and Feathers

I nodded carefully. She snapped into life, a sail suddenly caught in the breeze. I followed her with my eyes as she left for the kitchen, waiting for the clink of china against china and for the dull thud of her feet on the floorboards. I heard her pick up the telephone receiver in the next room, heard the low hum of her urgent voice through the walls. She appeared a minute later with a tray and pink cheeks, resumed her spot on the stool and began to place the saucers on the coffee table, then a plate of sugar biscuits, a scorching teapot. I winced as every item touched the surface, feeling like Jilly had brought her hand down hard onto the glass in a gesture of destruction. The sound was splinters and fragments inside my head. Jilly handed me a cup, rippling and heady with tea. I sniffed it and sipped, liking the heat on my palate that sent shocks of warmth into my belly. She passed me a biscuit and I nibbled at the edge. These are delicious, and the tea. Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit chilly. Is it loose leaf? Yes, from the shop on Main Street. Nodding, I dipped the last corner into the cup and watched as a piece crumbled away and dissolved into nothing. I swished the flecks of tea around and around, a spiral, a figure-eight, making my own tides, the waves lapping against porcelain cliffs. I remember this blanket, Jilly. It’s heavy with memories. Her eyebrows raised just a fraction, sliding above the frame of her glasses. I had said something wrong. She put a hand on the woolly fabric, but I kept myself as still as possible. The scratching intensified, picking at the fibres of my thoughts. I watched her with a dark, thick gaze. She tried again. How have you been? It’s been – what – twelve months, is that right? Such a long time ... Yes, Jilly, a very long time. Darling, is everything as it normally is? You seem cold ... A great beast dug a talon deep into the soft parts of my head and wrenched it out again. I spasmed and her face swam languidly before my eyes, but I squeezed a smile to my lips. Jilly, Jilly, stop being silly. I breathed the rhyme of my childhood, while underneath something was leaking, something precious, from the mesh of my battered insides. Salt still lingered in my mouth, tingled on my lips. My skin was flushed. I felt strangely victorious.

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


The blanket slipped away and I felt myself float towards the window. Clouds hung low over the trees and a deep blush had begun to stain their low, pregnant bellies. The evening chill seeped through the window pane. I could see the water, whipped and churning, from where I stood. Goose pimples wrapped themselves around me, screaming the hundreds of spindly legs into action, urging the soft-shelled bodies and snapping pincers forward. The front door opened and closed. Jilly stiffened. The room shifted as soon as he entered and I ignored him, hoping he would leave with little fuss. He didn‟t. I noticed a thick pulse in my neck drumming against the fine white skin, beat beat beating its way to my ears. I forced the stale air of the living room down my throat and back up again in broad, square breaths. When I closed my eyes I thought I could feel the brushing of a veil over the tops of my feet. Then there was a pressure on my arm, squeezing into muscle like a vice. I looked up at him. Where are the children, Kate? Jilly’s already told me you were at the beach. You should all be at home, like we planned ...

He couldn’t finish, but his voice stirred the loose ends inside me, so I concentrated on holding everything taut. Jilly was up off the stool, flanking his left. He released my arms and pressed his fingers into my face, holding my cheeks between his palms. Ribbons of white pain sliced their way from the back of my eyes, tracing the curve of my skull past the crown, down to the neck, to the delicate beginning of self near the column of vertebrae. I pressed my eyes left into their sockets, avoiding his face, looking over towards Jilly‟s dancing figurines in a row on her bookshelf. Lovely, I thought. They had a cold strength in their fine wrists and ankles and, for a minute, I was envious. Why would you ask me that? My body was electric now, standing on edge like an animal excited by bloodshed. It was a tale of bravery and beauty and I knew the ending. The pincers applauded. My mouth twitched. I brought my giddy attention back to the room, back to my husband. We had such a wonderful time. I watched the whites of his eyes grow thick and creamy around his irises. Did you take them home again, call the babysitter back? Is someone looking af-


Of Stones and Feathers

ter them? I didn‟t reply. He had never hit me; he wouldn‟t now. Slowly, Jilly latched on to his arm and withdrew him, backwards, carving them both through the truth towards the door. Let’s go down to the beach, Katherine. James will drive us. She manoeuvred him into the hall like a man blinded. After driving a little way, we pulled into the side of the road next to brush as thick and as grasping as claws. My Volkswagen was parked in front of us, the only other vehicle along the foreshore. Both of them burst from the car. When I didn‟t move Jilly opened my door and unclicked my seatbelt, tugging me free. The wind had picked up as we made our way down to the water. We came to the same crest of sand, the same breeze sprinkled with rain, and surged onwards towards the blurry divide between the land and sea. Jilly‟s mouth opened and closed in James‟s direction but I heard nothing except for the hiss of the wind and the hum of nervous insects. He stood with his shoulders low, hands dangling at his sides and I saw, through my hazy vision, his head bobbing, drooping like there was nothing left to support it. I was repulsed. Finally, they twisted themselves to face me, upwind, and mouthed questions I couldn‟t hear. I knew what they asked. I motioned to the water, imagined stroking it, running my fingers along its surface for a streak of hair, a graze of white-perfect skin. My own hair was blowing around my face, into my eyes, but I was determined to watch them as they stumbled forwards to the foamy mess, their shirts and pants slicked close to their skin and begin to comb along through the weed, looking for the beautiful, sandy mer-bodies tumbling beneath the surface.

© H. Ammitzboll 2010

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


BJ: Would you rather feathered hands or scaled feet? SW: Feathered hands! How lovely. I‟d accept anything which would increase the chances of being able to fly. Feet are unattractive in their natural state (although while I think of it, mermaid feet would be pretty) but all I can think of are bird feet … gnarled feet … oversized feet … with talons and claws. I‟d rather look at hands, or hair – feet are less expressive, somehow muted. Feet are practical. They help you to balance. And provide the ideal subject for shoes. BJ: As a child, which story were you particularly drawn to? SW: When I was quite young, it was The Eleventh Hour; the perfect mix of illustration and text. Then – of course – it was Harry Potter. The first literary novel I fell in love with was The Great Gatsby; Fitzgerald‟s beautiful prose inspires my own. A favourite image is the scene in which the green light lingers at the end of the pier, when he is so aware that there is something he wants but realizes he cannot have. BJ: Life is much better with/when …


SW: You don‟t have to think about money, and can do the things that you naturally love. If I was in this position I would write. Everything connects back to writing for me, and not just the act of writing. I am constantly aware of it; being drawn to words, following images, pursuing suggestions of narrative. That hour after sending yourself to bed and actually reaching sleep is when this process happens in overdrive for me. I have taught myself to be strict, in the sense that I now force myself to get out of bed to write down the thoughts while they last. BJ: Tom Thumb was no bigger than his father’s thumb. Who would you want to carry around on the palm of your hand? SW: Anyone I love, I suppose? I think I‟d rather be the one being held. There is that sense of someone else‟s vulnerability in carrying them that frightens me. I‟m not sure I would want to be in that position, to have that responsibility. I would much prefer to trust someone else than trust myself with being trusted … psychoanalyze that! Ws

Of Stones and Feathers

the other side Image source:

NATASHA JANSZ interviewed by Alex O’Brien

AO: Has a photograph ever captured what you saw? NJ: I don‟t think that I‟ve ever actually wanted to capture what I‟ve seen. Whenever I‟ve taken a photograph, I‟ve tried to see what I hope to capture. But most of my photos turn out to be so far from what I saw and expected. AO: Can you retire as an artist? NJ: Not if you just stop creating, but if you lose your drive and desire, then yes I think so.

© N. Jansz 2010


The Other Side

Š N. Jansz 2009

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


© N. Jansz 2009

AO: Is the fear to create internal or external? NJ: Internal I guess. It‟s not so much that I‟m scared of creating; I just don‟t want to feel like I‟m not good enough. I can‟t separate what I create from myself. If what I create isn‟t good enough, then I’m not good enough. And I don't know if I can necessarily handle that. I create when I know that what I‟m doing is both exciting and valid. I don‟t know who decides what constitutes „good‟ though – that part of it sure isn‟t internal.


AO: ‘In the eighteenth century the word ‘art’ meant predominantly ‘skill’. Cabinet-makers, criminals, and painters were each in their way considered artful’. – Clifford James NJ: I tend think of art as passion. However, I don‟t know if I would consider someone „artful‟ if they weren‟t at the same time also skilled. AO: Why do you think that people live ‘Goldilocks lives’?

The Other Side

NJ: As much as I like to think and say otherwise, I‟m as boring and uncomfortably comfortable as any of them you‟ll ever meet. But most are oblivious to it and are happy living like that. I‟m not.

And then they would breed with fish, and lots more fish-moths would be born. Soon, there would be no more moths on the land, and I would live happily ever after, although I may never swim again.

AO: If you were to create a hybrid animal, what would it be? [Allow me to briefly preface Natasha’s answer by saying that she is deathly terrified of moths].

AO: What would you do if you got to heaven to find it was fluorescent? I mean, it gives you headaches, makes you entirely uncomfortable ...

NJ: Okay, I think my hybrid animal would be a fish-moth. This fish-moth would prosper so productively underwater that all the land moths would see them and think, „you know what? That is the type of life I want to provide for my thousands of moth children. The type of life that I never had.

NJ: There is no heaven. I don‟t think about heaven or have any expectations of heaven. I think sleep gives us a glimpse at the practical experience of death. We decay, and that is all. Although, when I turn to religion to resolve my midlife crisis, I‟m sure I will say otherwise. Ws

© N. Jansz 2009

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


Š N. Jansz 2010


The Other Side


ette has her jeans rolled to her knees and arms folded across her chest to keep the cold air out, but also to show her contempt. Sophie stands slightly deeper in the water, wearing a bathing suit. Jette can see the stretch marks on her sister‟s legs. Sophie‟s arms are straight by her side, pulled down by a giant magnet beneath the sand. In her right hand she grips a small, bronze urn, its weight barely registering within her. She imagines the small, black body of her mother curled up at the base of the urn. Slowly she wades out into the water. The surface is green and bruised where bloodied clumps of seaweed rise. The two sisters stand partnered in a small bay on an empty stretch of sand. It has been raining and the sand is seasoned with dints. Overhead, the sky is grey, sagging with heavy clouds that form an arc around them. Low scrub frames the beach and behind is the main road, its cars muted by the breathy exaltations of the sea. Over the road is a milk bar and caravan park, followed by loosely dotted houses, climbing feebly into the hills behind. Jette watches Sophie as she makes heavy steps, full of self-designated responsibility. As she gets deeper, her arms become outstretched like a scarecrow. Jette is impatient, cold, and angry at the urn that has been rolling around her boot for the past two weeks. She thinks of all the people, like her mother, having never shown any interest in the beach, making their family drive five hours to scatter their ashes. Somehow it would have been more appropriate to scatter them in the backyard, in the lake across the road, or in her mother‟s dark room. It all seems like a trick. At the funeral everyone approached Sophie and exclaimed how old she looked and how she resembled her mother. Jette had stood by her side, waiting to be acknowledged, to be told that her mother often talked about her too. But she was met


In Salt Water

by awkward smiles, the kind that signify retreat. Her dark hair and deep set eyes bore no resemblance to her tall, fair sister. The four year gap between them did not make Jette feel wiser, instead she felt like warm milk trapped beneath its own skin. Sophie removes the lid from the urn and held it away from her body. The wind is moving on shore and she positions herself so none of the ashes will blow her way. She turns to Jette who has tucked her chin upon her chest. Sophie looks back to the urn and tilts it carefully, as if she were measuring it into a mixture. Before she releases it into the water, Sophie pushes the lid back on the urn and exhales. She walks quickly through the heavy water, back to Jette who says nothing as she dries herself. „Not yet,‟ she explains. „When? We can‟t keep coming down here!‟ „I thought I was ready.‟ „Ready? Soph it‟s got nothing to do with you. It‟s a pile of ash. All you have to do is tip it in.‟ „No.‟ „Well I don‟t see why not. She doesn‟t care, she can‟t see us.‟ Jette spits. „She‟s not living in that thing.‟ Sophie storms off through the low scrub. By the time Jette makes her way back to the car Sophie is sitting on the bonnet, trying to soak up the faint warmth of the cooling engine. „I need to stay here for a while,‟ she pleads. Jette is looking off into the distance. She moves towards the bonnet and examines Sophie, as if she were a strange bug with its legs flailing in the air. Sophie sees Jette as a huge gourd, an unavoidable presence of thickness and curiosity. She is about to say something when suddenly Jette is in the driver‟s seat, starting the engine. „No, wait!‟ Sophie jumps from the bonnet as Jette begins to back out. „We can‟t go,‟ she chases after the car, which is moving away from her. „Wait!‟ She screams, opening the door and launching herself into the passenger seat. Jette says nothing, but spins the car out from the sandy car park. Sophie is sobbing. Jette launches the car over the main road and brakes suddenly, landing them outside the office of the caravan park. Sophie looks up. „Go and get a key.‟

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011



line is woken by the sound of her daughter‟s howling. She flies down the hall and into the room, switching on the light. Jette is lying on her back, her body convulsing, releasing massive tears. Sophie is sitting up. At the sight of her sister she begins to wail. There had been a man in the room, he had come in through the window and lay down in bed with Jette. He was hairy and his body was warm and heavy, trapping Jette beneath a mammoth arm. For hours she had been lying stiff while he slept, his body, so hot, almost burning her. Eline looks at the tiny window above Jette‟s bed and smiles. She tells Jette that sometimes dreams can smell and feel so real, but they are just puppet shows to keep our brain entertained while we are asleep. Eline moves forward to embrace her daughter but she is met by flying arms and screams. Jette‟s outstretched finger catches a feather of skin beneath its nail and drags it along Eline‟s cheek. She stops, registering the contact of their bodies. She clutches her face and retreats to the bathroom. She ducks her cheek into the small sink, wedging it underneath the tap and lets the cool water run down the side of her face. Eline stands up, she can still hear Jette‟s loud, melodramatic sobs. She takes a face washer from the shelf, wets it and walks back through the girls‟ room. Jette‟s sobbing becomes louder as she enters. Eline throws the face washer at her daughter, the wet fabric slapping hard against her face. Jette is shocked and lies silent while the water runs down her neck. Later, sweeping the hair from the corner of her eye Eline rummages through the darkness of the room until she locates her daughters‟ sleeping bodies. One of them is soft, not just in touch, but in company. Eline‟s breathing slows at the sight of blonde hair and luminous white skin. The other, is porous. She is often so quiet Eline is

it is this ‘halfness’ of attendance that is so uncomfortable. Looking into her eyes, Eline barely aware of her being there and

knows there is a memory bank full of all the harsh comments she has ever said to her. Her eyes are so dark that they could go on and on. Sometimes Eline does not even realise her daughter has spoken until she wakes up in the night as the words bubble to the surface of her mind. Eline touches her cheek where the scratch is. Through the dark room there is a parting sound, like a fish breaking the surface of the water. Jette can see her mother standing in the doorway. Eline turns sharply closing the door.


In Salt Water

In the morning, at school, Jette takes Sophie onto the embankment. They sit in her den, a hole she has dug out of the side of the hill, no more than a disc just deep enough to fit their bottoms. She takes their drink bottles and empties them onto the slope in front. The water leaks like oil over the dusty ground, barely soaking in. Sophie shrieks in amazement then takes one of the bottles and helps her sister wet the slope before their den. Jette explains that this will help keep them safe from the enemy. With arms flying and lungs bursting with laughter and excitement, Jette and the older children launch at each other with sticks and other deadly weapons. Sophie is the treasure and she is often stolen by the other children who lead her gently to another hole in the dirt, where she waits for Jette.


voiding eye contact Jette sits in the car. Looking out of the windscreen, she can feel Sophie‟s gaze from the caravan park reception. If she turned around Jette would be met by Sophie‟s brow, pushing down onto her wet eyes, pursed lips and a long deflated body. Jette grips the steering wheel harder and muscles twitch along her arms. She cannot remember the smell of her sister‟s skin.


‟m not scared of it though,‟ Eline avoided looking into her daughters‟ eyes. Jette could not resist. „Mum.‟ „What?‟ „How long have you known?‟ „Long enough to get used to the idea.‟ „Mum, you don‟t get used to it, it‟s not something you get “used to”, it‟s not a fucking wart Mum. It‟s not like it‟s going away. Christ. Is that what we‟re supposed to do? Get used to it?‟ „Jette I told y –„ „No, no you didn‟t, you‟re telling us now, now that you‟ve cleaned the house out. We can‟t help you.‟ „I don‟t want you to.‟ Sophie runs to her mother, looking to her for support. Jette wants to crush their

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


embrace with the weight of her sorrow, but instead sits separate, lifeless. She will be the dull thud of bass underneath a wailing melody.


ophie sits on the door step of the caravan in the fading light. Jette can hear the telephone conversation through the antiquated door. She pictures the receiver‟s ear withering with the recollections of their day. Her lungs tighten as Sophie pulls draw strings through them. She looks down into the large pot of boiling water resting above an eager flame. The curtains are drawn, but the sun still teases its way through the fabric leaving the small interior swollen in an orange hue. Moving her face further above the water, the steam forces her eyes closed and from there she lifts one arm. Innocuously, she lowers it down into the pot, her index finger outstretched. The tip greets the water. Jette waits while her body tells her lies. First, that the water is painfully cold. Then that the water is hot, too hot for her.The water is bigger and stronger than her, it is capable of taking over all the senses in her body and making them scream in retreat. Jette breathes deeply and plucks her finger from the water. It throbs in the highest pitch, but she can still hear Sophie through the door.

The orange light is making her drunk, her finger is throbbing, but she has nothing cold to run it under. Clumsily she searches her sister‟s belongings for some moisturiser or aloe vera, even her wet bathers. Her hand stops bluntly against a cool object. Jette takes the bronze urn out of the tangle of clothes and holds it tightly. She presses the hot tip of her finger against the cool bronze until it doesn‟t feel cold anymore. Then she rotates it until she finds another cool section to place her fingers. Sophie‟s clothes have been spewed from the bag and lie clumped all over the small interior. Jette stands up and picks her way through them, not letting go of the urn. She is gripping the urn so hard that she expects it to cave in like an Easter egg. Her hands become hot and red and her face is sweating. The caravan is filling with steam from the boiling pot, and with the orange light Jette is finding it hard to see. She takes the urn and walks towards the pot. The water is so noisy that she can no longer hear Sophie‟s conversation. The steam has muted the outside world; it is just her, inside the orange steam filled caravan with the urn. The urn is fogging also, Jette wipes the steam from it, but instantly it returns. Jette‟s cheeks, sear and grow tender red. Stepping towards the stove, she trips on a


In Salt Water

pair of Sophie‟s tightly rolled socks. She staggers and her face jolts forward towards the stove. Carefully she stands up, her face almost grazing the side of the pot. The steam is so thick Jette keeps gasping through it, as if it were too evasive to be tricked into her lungs. For a moment Jette closes her eyes. They feel cool tucked beneath the lids, but then the steam and the orange of the caravan pulse through them, as if they have melted onto her eyeballs. Jette holds the urn over the pot, her hands growing wet from the steam. Quickly she unscrews the lid and holds the full urn in her right hand.


line holds a tissue in her hand as Sophie blows snot lazily out of her nose. She wipes the snot from Sophie‟s lips and lies her back down in the cot. The hot water pipes ring loudly in the walls as the bath is filled in the next room. Eline lays her own head on the wooden frame and closes her eyes. She listens to Jette struggle with her father, as he tells her to hop into the bath. His voice is unrelenting and she pictures him picking her up and placing her in the bath. The splash of her body entering the water is dull, but the screams which follow are piercing. Eline sits up and runs to the bathroom. Jette‟s small body stands shivering in the bath, from her waist down she is scarlet, the skin traumatised. Eline grabs Jette from the bath and runs the cold water in the shower, placing the hot little body under it. Her husband stands, his eyes glazed and face wet with steam.


ette‟s eyes are still closed. She can hear a soft sound like silk being pulled across skin as she tilts her right hand and the contents of the urn slide into the water. Turning the stove off, she stands whilst the bubbles die down.

The water has a thin layer of dust on its surface, the rest of the thick ash has sunk to the bottom, leaving the middle clean. Jette searches the ashes for an Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


eyelash, a fingernail, anything that would tie her mother to the dirty substance. Jette becomes aware of Sophie‟s banging on the door and realises that she must have locked it. As it is unlatched, Sophie thrusts it open. She sees Jette burnt red and wet standing over a pot, the empty urn on the bench. Sophie inhales, about to scream, but Jette picks up the pot and walks towards her. Sophie jumps out of the way to avoid the boiling pot, but Jette continues past her and out the door. Jette cannot feel the hot metal burning through her palms. Sophie trails after her, screaming. Other campers have come out to watch the sisters, one holding a pot outstretched, the other reluctantly following and pleading with her to stop. They cross the road. Sophie stops screaming and starts crying, taking in huge breaths; she is forced to stop whilst they shudder through her. Jette walks quickly through the bush and onto the beach where she sinks the pot into the sand and collapses next to it. She becomes aware of the burns on her palms and the tender flesh on the sand. Through the scrub Sophie emerges, pulling Jette to her feet draging her to the water. Being led deeper into the waves, Jette follows Sophie who holds her wrists gently. She watches her hands as they are dipped into the water. The salt stings, but Sophie holds them beneath the waves until the water cools them. When the sisters emerge from the water the pot has cooled. They sit down, the pot between them and the sea.


ette has not been watching the petrol gauge. The car engine splutters out on top of a hill and continues to roll down slowly, coming to a stop in the dirt on the side of the road. The sound of the gravel beneath the tyres seems to echo inside the shell of the car. They sit in silence for a very long time until Sophie opens the door. She places her backpack on her shoulder and begins to walk along the side of the road. The wind outside is cool but Jette sits on the warm bonnet and waits, opening up her palms to the wind. Many cars slow down as they pass; cars with salt encrusted surfboards and towels strung from windows and across backseats. None of them stop, although a few come close. But Jette, sitting on the bonnet with her eyes closed and palms open to the sky doesn‟t notice. Sophie returns hours later, in a taxi with a can of petrol and a cold parcel of chips. She fills the tank and starts the engine. The car moves off the gravel and Jette sits in the passenger seat eating. „How are your hands?‟ Sophie asks, not taking her eyes off the road.


In Salt Water

Jette looks down to her fingers covered in tomato sauce and salt. She brings one of them to her face and licks it clean. Sophie laughs, looking at her sister covered in salt and sauce. „You‟re going too slow,‟ Jette says, but Sophie doesn‟t adjust her speed. Jette sighs and looks out the window as light rain falls, being instantly absorbed into the sea.

© H. Ammitzboll 2010

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


© H. Ammitzboll 2010

WS: Do you relate more to the idea of a giant or to Thumbelina, who is small enough to sleep inside a walnut shell?

WS: ‘I measure my life in … ’

GM: I hope that I fall somewhere in the middle. I‟m not too crazy about walnuts.

WS: How, if at all, does Natasha’s image of a girl holding her own hand, either directly speak or relate to your short story?

WS: Have you ever considered, or attempted, a translation of your text to visual art, or conversely, visual art to text? GM: Hmm ... not until now, but that is something I might have a go at.


GM: ... Meals, laughter and holidays.

GM: I love Natasha‟s image, especially the fact that it is slightly asymmetrical. I suppose the idea of femininity and a strong bond is reflected in the image and (I hope) in the short story. Ws

In Salt Water

Stones and Feathers a poem by

Matt Lacorcia

The game is stopped and rearranged by juvenile fish. This is the last call from the secret land of stones and feathers. Bees scuff the tops of pollen-heavy buds, opened since the morning –will close up in the rain. This light world has its own stones. They roll with ease. Dusty landscaped hills and cactus pricks in your fingertips. Tweeze them out carefully to stop the pain. This lesson teaches strength, and gritted teeth. Water drips along the dusty ground in rivers, snaking, collecting a coat of dust as it moves – leather. Leather strapped to legs, the skin of bucks. Where are the horns? Antlers should be here. I keep pebbles when I walk in the heavy world. The feathers are striped with brown and white. The stones take the weight and hold it sacred. The antlers are sharp, covered in glue. Feathers spread, lifted by silk wind to cover them, locked away and under wraps of block and grey. They look like birds now.

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011


WS: Do you draw on any mythical stories to understand the world around you? ML: I think Orpheus is important. You know, don’t turn around or Eurydice will disappear? There have been plenty of times when I‟ve turned around, to check something before it‟s finished, and lost out. Patience comes in useful. Faith and focus together; I‟m always trying to learn how to stay focused, and not check that she‟s still there behind me. WS: The Brothers Grimm wrote a story entitled ‘The Turnip’. What common object would you consider writing about within a fairy tale? ML: I rarely come into contact with turnips. I like the idea of fairytales about modern things, things that don‟t seem right, like maybe some cursed botox injections (aren‟t they all?) or

chewing gum. WS: Do any of the three songs composed by Hans capture or resonate with the mood in your poem? ML: Song number two – The warm strums of the lead guitar, the feathery scratches of the other guitar in the background, contrasting with the heavy thump of the low bass and drums. WS: Do you tend to daydream/write indoors or outdoors? ML: I like to think outdoors, so I walk a lot. The only problem is you need to make sure you‟ve got something handy to write on, preferably paper (and not your hand, but sometimes that‟ll do, or an old metcard). But when I‟ve got the idea, I do tend write inside (better than outside where wind flaps your pages around, and Melbourne‟s constant threat of rain scares laptops). Ws



Of Stones and Feathers

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Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth  

The inaugural, Summer 2011 issue of Winged Seeds. The Life & Death of Fairytale and Myth.

Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth  

The inaugural, Summer 2011 issue of Winged Seeds. The Life & Death of Fairytale and Myth.