Hers was a lonely life. After dad’s passing, she stayed alone. Soon her dog died too. My two sisters and I were married and away. Mom would get up early every morning, make herself a cup of tea and talk to an apparition of dad. The dementia was kicking in…
The petri dish holds the weaponized mycoplasma, nonchalantly referred to as GBS, used in test immunizations required for some soldiers, among them his brother Niel. The paralysis, which begins with an innocent tingle, climbs his extremities to strangle both strength and feeling. Holding the petri dish becomes a challenge so he turns his palm heavenward and points his middle finger.
Conspiracy theories bubblewrap the vaccine’s debut during the third lockdown. Chatter of alien DNA and big bro trackers make my mind up: I want the jab. Stardust courses through my veins and I never know which universe I’m in. Besides, Pan is a hungry god and I don’t want to be lunch.
a black moon
in Medusa clouds . . .
longing for darkness
I‘m thinking about making a new will; pandemics do that to you. Father of course has to get in on the act; dead for 30 years, but I just have to close my eyes for a rest and there he is. In this dream, he’s actually just died and, with my brother being deceased too, I’m left sole beneficiary in his will. Mr Wishart, the family solicitor, is giving me a solo reading. It transpires that I’ve inherited a house, savings at a moderately life-transforming level, an armour-plated SUV, a gun cabinet, a useful address book and his favourite scythe. Plus a modest number of feuds.
Guns? Scythe? Feuds? He hands me an envelope. Inside there’s a list of family vendette, with an account of their origins and ensuing collateral damage. A few decades down, my brother is on the damage list. This is all news to me. I say, am I on the front foot or the back foot with these? Wishart says, good question. With some it’s your turn to go strong, with others I’d advise the bunker and bodyguards strategy. Opportunity, threat, don’t worry, you’ll know what to do; after all, it’s in the blood. I do hope you’ll enjoy your new life for the longest time. Remember to keep that scythe sharp and oiled. And just one more thing: have you considered remaking your will?
but look at
the state of his shoes
I don’t know anything
she knows. I know
she knows something,
but she can’t know
what I know.
I don’t know anything,
and she knows that
I don’t know anything.
And that’s the point:
she knows something
even if it’s nothing,
and I don’t know anything.
the sweet spot
a fine line between
burnt and toasty
You did not see because you did not look. You weren’t as bad as some, perhaps, Yet priceless treasure you forsook. You did not see because you did not look. With Nazi friends, you burned the books, You charred your heart, your chances lapsed. You did not see because you did not look. You weren’t as bad as some? Perhaps . . .
graveyard gargoyle— the doorman waits to receive you
The telephone call from my father reignites a memory from twenty years ago. I’m walking up the tree lined avenue of The Miltown Institute on my way to a lecture. It is mid-May but unusually cold. In an instant, everything changes.
pink cherry blossom
where am I going?
‘Where are you?’, my father asks. He sounds anxious.
‘At home’, I say, just watching television. You okay?’
There is silence as he thinks about what I’ve said. This is his second night in the rehab unit and I am guessing he dozed off for a while and now can’t figure out where he is.
‘I don’t know what’s happening’, he says. ‘What am I supposed to do? I’m lost, I’m lost.’
It’s nearly midnight and I can hear how quiet it is there. ‘It’s the middle of the night’, I say. I tell him to go back to sleep and I’ll talk to him in the morning. But it takes time and a lot of repetition to reassure him. Eventually he tires and goes to sleep.
But I cannot sleep. I ruminate on the fear in his voice when he said: ‘I’m lost, I’m lost.’
in our tin house
rolling over the roof
this ancient wind