from "Was It for This"

By Hannah Sullivan

The superimposition
of the figure on the ground
appearing only later,

At first the almost colourless
fine hair cut in a helmet
(Caramac) and brick and grouting
and the stained glass of the lemon
chiffon door merged and recurred,
as did the St George's cross of
sock and T-bar strap {bright red),
repeated on the sewn-on
pocket of the smock –
and this despite the motion blur,
the offset of the shutter speed
and child’s deliberate steps,
the galaxies of whitewash
(painters in?) and next door's
twitchy pleated nets…

It was all bland, harmonious,
and given to us:
a ravishing for-nothingness.


Directed by Matthew Thompson.

Excerpted from "Was It for This," published in Was It for This (Faber & Faber, 2023).