When I was Born

When I was born I saw the beginning of things. I saw the tide roll in and the tide roll out. I saw the moon change shape and the hospital walls grow white and fly away. I saw my mother a mess of blood and skin. My father stood by the bed like an open book at an empty page, waiting for my angry cry. I was an ugly, screwed-up thing. My face was red and my legs were strong. Outside a glass bird was calling from a tree. Through the night white women rolled in and out of the room on tiny wheels, carrying towels, needles, bowls of things. They hummed soft songs while my mother cried and my father slept and I watched lights dance on the ceiling and wondered vaguely at the strangeness of it all.

 

The Large, Dark Room

You enter a large, dark room. There are people lined up against the walls. They have their eyes closed and a tall woman stands in the centre of the room. She is turning slow circles and watching that everyone keeps their eyes closed. She motions for you to stand against the wall and close your eyes. You motion that you hadn’t meant to end up here and that you’d thought it was the car park and that you’ve just finished your shopping and that you need to get home to get the milk and meat into the fridge. But her face tells you to stay. And so you back up against the wall and close your eyes. On the inside of your eyelids a black and white film has just begun. It is you and everyone you know. It is now and then and before and forever. You see that you were born behind a circus tent on a bed of rough straw on the edge of a small town.  You see that you were born not to a woman but to a small, low-flying planet. And this explains a lot.

 


First published in Going Down Swing No. 27 – new adventures in the word