Monday, February 6, 2017
Rachael Mead #5
This one feels a bit flat and clunky to me, so any suggestions as to how to reanimate it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Dad’s depressed and won’t leave the house,
preferring daily consultations with Dr Google.
He lists every ache and twinge, hoping for
a diagnosis other than death is inevitable.
Mum is sitting at my kitchen table, crying.
She can’t stop. She has moon-shaped hollows
beneath her eyes and keeps saying Shut up.
Get a hold of yourself. She never lets me in.
She’s all structural wall, her whole life dedicated
to holding up the roof but there’s no front door.
It’s as though I can only see her over a vast
distance or read her in translation. My anger
becomes something large and blossoming
squeezed into a small space, like a heart.
Then Mum tells me a story about
why she hates the Animal Welfare League.
A woman was rude to her forty-three years ago
when she tried to save a box of kittens dumped
in our front yard. And right then, I see her:
young, willowy, wild hair and a green dress.
She’s squaring her shoulders at the counter
and holding her three-year-old daughter’s hand,
trying so hard to be the person that little girl sees.
Strong. Protective. Always doing the right thing.
Even without windows, I can see that these are
the steadfast stones of her walls, keeping her
trapped in a house with a sad man petrified
by his own soft, animal mortality. Life -
so pointless and perfect we cling to it at all costs.
I reach across the table and take hold of her hand.