My mother once told me –
back when we were talking,
which we did in those days
but haven’t done for a while now –
never to poop in your own backyard.
Which I obviously then did –
because: why not?
I immediately then got scooped up
and placed in another garden:
greener, lusher and more verdant;
set free to roam as I pleased, and it pleased me a lot –
so no harm ever came of it.
And as for the poop…
well, the poop got left exactly where it was,
at the foot of a tree next to a wheelbarrow full of leaves
and a radiator ripe with rust,
set free to wither and shrink
growing old benignly.
Judgement and muddied water: things that rise up – upsetting foundations, waking sleeping elements. Roots plucked, cut, grabbed and twisted: no wonder inside is a mess – upturned and broken; a heart rapidly beating, a breast leaning left, a throat sore for want of speech.
There’s a belly that’s empty and a stomach that’s hollow and a place that should be full. There’s a daughter without a mother and a father without a child. There’s upset and anger and misunderstanding. There’s the bridge that’s broken and the road that’s blocked, paths that don’t lead anywhere. There’s me and you and you and me: in the middle: stuck. It is impossible to navigate the minefield. At 9am, already I have lost a foot.
Limping backwards; attempting to make a hasty retreat; no longer worried about politeness and etiquette, no longer giving a shit about the shit that’s flying everywhere: I exit onto the street. The day is sunny but the heat doesn’t permeate. Instead, only pain; which is cold, persistent and impossible to suppress. There are things: people, places… that should not be entertained. I know this lesson. It is my fault. I am to blame.
by Rebecca L. Atherton
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