Writer, photographer, laneway wanderer. Veteran of the alt-weekly press (RIP). Based in Melbourne, Australia. jesskilby.com
The fever clinic is sparse and disorienting, overhead fluoros at once too bright and too dim. It’s a warm April evening and the clinic doors are open to the shabby side street where the ambulances idle. Out on the footpath a plexiglass shelter stretches in both directions; black Xs mark the pavement at evenly spaced intervals. But I’m the only one here, aside from three young nurses who look as dazed as I feel. Flying ants litter the floor of the triage area and flit low through the space, trailing us into the hallway that leads to the examination room.
I. (The River) I am alone on a small crowded boat. Alone amongst couples and friends on winter holiday; alone amongst the taciturn crew. I am not on holiday. I came here for a different reason, to this festival of fire and darkness. I came here to be alone. But a shark shadow chased my plane across the ocean and swallowed me whole as we touched down, and now I am alone inside a darkness that is so much darker than I bargained for.