Effortless Reassurance by Jordana Bragg

Making ends meet is impossible in a room with you

In the absence of someone everyone becomes not them
think of the last time you lost your friend in a crowd

The absolute violence of abandonment

In the absence of something everything becomes absence
Here are a few things I saw on my way here when you weren’t there that made me think of you

You said something like

“I’m leaving”
(I’d never leave you)
“I can’t stay”

(I’m going to stay whether you leave or not)
something like that

I estimate the distance between us that carries you away
all the way home
in my mind
to keep you safe

When you get to your front door I can lock mine

Effortless Reassurance

I have a theory
among many
that there are two types of distance

and Hot Distance

The difference is the difference between
being alone
and being lonely

Distance is you

and I
without ever having met
having been
or needing to be any closer

Hot Distance is absence

In the absence of something everything becomes absence
In the absence of someone everyone becomes not them

Venomous infertility

Us having met
having been close
then a separation occurs
between us
which in turn makes for a loss

Distance is easy

Hot Distance is waking up early
in the morning
your face against the bare chest of someone you barely knew but had been beneath
under the skin of before you were both born
whose bones turned to pollen beside you in the night

Before the sun

before work
We are the next generation of new mothers

All Power to All Small Loves

Distance is throwing something
Hot Distance is throwing something against a wall hoping it bounces back into your hands in one piece



The Gaze is Not Something You Have or Use (It is a relationship entered into) is an exhibition of work and publication by national and international wāhine artists and writers. Each artist creates work that is embodied, marked by their experiences and offers ways of expressing empathy through self care, repetition, unlearning/learning and humour.

Contributors and collaborators:

Audrey Baldwin (Ōtautahi)
Katherine Botten (Narrm)
Sophie Cassar (Narrm)
Quishile Charan (Tāmaki Makaurau)
Klein (London)
Ayesha Tan-Jones (London)

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