April 17, 2017 by The Citron Review
by Pavle Radonic
Another downpour, this one earlier than yesterday and though it did not look like it out the window, some hope the sky had emptied for the evening. A handful of days left in a year of similar output to the previous four in the tropics, without again much to show for it—only a handful of publications. In the midst of the hardship on display all-round the streets of the old town here however no slippage of mind could last very long. Today the young Sumatran lass at the Teahouse struck yet another figure around on one of the front tables on the other side of the building. We have seen the girl asleep over her phone cradling her head and finger out-stretched for her pad; leaning against the pillar beneath the frangipani the same, head slumped on her chest. Without being spotted, no doubt she has slept on her feet here in a quiet moment in the classic way of the soldier on guard duty. This afternoon in her batik blouse she had appeared especially thin and child-like, brittle and pitiful; passing her in the tight passage at the corner by her steamer the narrow shoulders and protruding backbone had drawn a finger of enquiry. An hour later rounding back to the hotel she was found seated by the ice-cream parlor face down on a table with her hands somehow strangely arranged around her head, attempting to screen herself possibly. Here the collapse had overtaken her entirely and resulted in the kind of ruination of a battle-field corpse. Even in the first glimpse this was the impression and looking more closely her wide open lips firmly planted on the table top confirmed the impression. One could not stop to bend and peer and there was no need in any case. A narrow glint of teeth showed and the lower lip stretched across the square was perfectly clear. How had she been caught wide open and gaping like that, lips pressed so firmly? There would be a little sting when she woke and peeled herself away from the plastic. Sleeping on a tree branch, on one foot or out in the rain would have appeared less unlikely.
Australian by birth and of Montenegrin origin, Pavle Radonic’s five years living and writing in southeast Asia has provided unexpected stimulus. Previous work has appeared in a range of literary journals and magazines, most recently Ambit, Big Bridge, and Antigonish Review.