An Excerpt from Stereoblind by Emma Healey

Stereoblind by Emma Healey

Esper

From Stereoblind by Emma Healey

In this scene it’s night, like always. Our hero stares down at
a handful of old photographs, picks at the keyboard, maybe
dreams about a unicorn, etc. Around her, broken lamps,
spent pens, piles of small crystals, pill jars, camera lenses,
unlit candles, notebook paper, half-wound tapes, full
ashtrays, record sleeves, all the kinds of glass that happen
when a person lives alone. The sink behind her out of
focus, piled with dishes, kitchen floor in black and white,
small pattern that gets bigger as we move toward the centre
of the image. That’s perspective. Light from the crowded
world outside melts through the room behind her, on her
knees before the screen, where we can see displayed a wash
of static and the grid, which never changes, plus the faces
of some people we don’t know. Still, we understand the
greater meaning: shards refusing to make a pattern, tiny
mirror that fails to focus in small the whole of the great room.

We know, too, without needing to be told that while some
people might be born to be with others, others still are built
to spend their nights like this, tracking a past that isn’t
theirs with antique, glitching equipment. Which kind are
you? Stop, enhance. Small trail of symbols, significance of
the bicycle, all this glowing and pause. A dull roar rushes
through the room, subsides. She looks good, caught up,
flickering inside the question, almost there but not there
yet.


This poem is available as a broadsheet.

In Stereoblind, no single thing is ever perceived in just one way. Shot through with asymmetry and misconception, the prose poems in Emma Healey’s second collection describe a world that’s anxious and skewed, but still somehow familiar — where the past, present, and future overlap, facts are not always true, borders are not always solid, and events seem to write themselves into being. An on-again, off-again real estate sale nudges a quartet of millennial renters into an alternate universe of multiplying signs and wonders; an art show at Ontario Place may or may not be as strange and complex (or even as “real”) as described; the collusion of a hangover and a blizzard carry our narrator on a trancelike odyssey through Bed Bath & Beyond. Using a diverse range of subjects — from pharmaceutical research testing to Tinder — to form an inventory of ontological disturbance, Healey delves moments when the differences between things disappear, and life exceeds its limits.

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