Tuesday, January 02, 2007



Outside of my head, there’s a great storm. It’s dark and the waves are wet mountains, a stampede of liquid buffalo snorting foam and doom. Clouds gather in furrows, the sky tossing and turning with a doozer of a headache. Any picnics are not happy: the sandwiches are soggy, the Kool Aid’s dilute; everyone’s irritated with father for continuing to state that it’s all about being together and it’s more the attitude than the dreary details which determine success.

But look! There’s a little sparrow bravely flapping through the downpour. Doused, it’s a patch of grass after a flood. It’s whipped and tossed until it finds an opening, a safe passage, a cave of respite. Ok, my ear. It funnels down deep into my cochlea. Finally a pink snail, some promise of satisfaction in all this oppressive darkness. And it keeps going, finding safe harbour in the snug of my brain. It’s a feathery bumper car in the warm grey labyrinth of my flickering mind. There’s an image of my parents celebrating their purchase of a new hose. There’s my sister falling from a horse into the swimming pool. And there’s my grandpa’s new heart, clip-clopping like a pony along the cobbles of his bony chest.

And still the sparrow moves through the shed of my skull, past the toolbox, the pitchfork, the medulla oblongata and that dream I had where my son gives birth to BB King and a window. An acorn licks a tree and the forest shudders. Then the bird heads south and emerges from the star of my anus and is lost to storm and uncertain darkness. I’m able to sit down, eventually, once I overcome fear and the forgotten feathers.

What comes before or after us we do not know. We know only the bird or the dog or the shelf inside: the bird’s short flight, the dog’s incessant yip, the shelf that shines in space when the storm is about us.

(after Bede Ecclesiastical History)

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