Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Shards of light

I. Dawn. 


The negative inversion of light changes, charges. That face, unbearably frail, had once held fractiously reflected images of their former selves.  Sense the sensation of fear, it precipitates in bone marrow; from limb to limb she ravages herself in cannibalistic rituals. Consuming the consumptive, it is the nature of inhumane dreams. She drank the elixir of his aged passion and found she gagged on the truth presented in her hallucinogenic state.


A stench of diesel lingers in the caliginous air, the unelemental nature of their love burns behind her left eye, a sensation of electrocution. The executioner wears a red dress. If they were to be bookish and return to the first principle, the breath he had just taken was meaningless. It does not exist. Nor does hers. Therefore her veracity can take on a more violent nature. He took his aim, she was unarmed and guarded not the path to her heart. It is marked for his blade or arrow, or the slingshot so favoured in his infantile period.


The grass around the edges of the lake is overgrown, time stood still only for her.  Captured her long enough to leave her behind in the bending shards of light cascading from a mouth of a lover she did not take. Passed down, faulted eugenics with silver tongues, silent promises and leather. They bequeathed her something of flesh and bone to remember them by; it calls her name in the mimicking tone of her once sequestered voice.


This is how it is.


Raise her from the furrowed glebe, to revolute in the luminescence of dawn. Make her not ethereal inside the plasmatic constellation. Her night has retreated, she is conscious in the defiant birth of her own aurora borealis.


II. Noon.


They crossed the celestial meridian at dusk and then again at noon, as the light pitched down from the heavens with the calefaction of Satan. She knew it was the serpent from the taste on her lips, the fat pink thumb that brushed at the stain was not her own. Sex is good for the body, truth is good for the soul. So it is written on the leaves of the trees that shade the fortunate. Beneath their feet the voices of heathens sang out, each footprint leaving an indelible mark upon the skin of an unborn infant. The shins of weaker women split open, exposing bone shards to air. There is a folk tale, passed from mouth to mouth that tells tales of those that have walked in the midday sun.


Mad dogs ran themselves ragged as he foamed at the mouth. If you drink freely from the fountain you will pay the consequence. They taught this at school before milk, she drank it down thirstily. She is the water bearer, but the elders have yet to realise the strength of character sequestered under her breast plate. A pain stabs in her middle finger having spent too long pouring over ancient texts in a language no longer spoken. Above her stand a figure carved of iron, bone, swathed in a blanket of flesh. He watches her decipher each syllable, kisses her full on the mouth in reward. Some punishments are metered out with love. Some only wear it as a disguise.


In his calloused hands, black with soot from the bags long slung over his shoulder, he holds her heart. The kettle whistles early calling the workers too tea. Old women kneel in the grate of an open fire plying kindling with paraffin, lest the devil should forget to send a spark to burn out the sin. Every child’s flesh will burn if touched by the fingertips of evil, unless she has already tainted herself. Then her hair shall be knotted with violets and ivy ready for her marriage to her mother’s father. To return to the source is the only cure. Everyone knows this. Oral language is stronger than the mutterings of the church. The priest no longer knocks at their door.


His teeth are missing as he smiles, takes her hands and walks her to the shade of dreamscapes. Opens her mouth to pour in the elixir from a dusty jar sat on the handmade bench. Reminds her again, that he built it with his own two hands, flexing the muscles in his arm. Not all threats are overt. Not all love is precious. In the distance reverberations of life mingle with one another in the torridity, coexisting, consuming one another until joined, a cacophony of silence clouds their bodies from view. God said he witnesses everything, but her God is not that of the parables told in Christ’s house. His teeth glisten white from inside the jar. Drink of his body, drink, drink, drink. Only Alice had the good fortune of growing in size.


Down into the rabbit hole she falls, down into anatomical penitence.


III. Dusk.


How did Noah know the rounded earth would flood? How can something circular swell until it bursts unless someone pricks it with a sharpened screw. People long believed the earth was flat, in which case, flooding would be impossible. Torrents of raging fluid would course towards the edges only to cascade into the cosmos. Lost. Forever. She was not Noah and did not know there was a flood to come. The burning animalistic craving of the day eased with the setting of the sun, the burning sensation of her flesh subsided less. The holy one retreated to the bottom of a bottle that did not contain a ship, sails unfurled, it held nothing. He too was empty, of regret, or guilt. A spent force waiting to again muster desire.


She slunk into the shadows as she had seen other animals do. Unlatched the window with a broken finger and dropped bare footed onto the cooling ground. As her bare feet padded across the parched grass clouds of dust wafted around her. Earth to earth. You cannot know what you are not taught, innocence is heavy burden when a body has been heaved into the romanticism of others.


Under the branches of a chestnut tree, leaves singed by the sun, she dug, until her fingers wore to the quick. Licking them, the metallic taste reminded her of a forgotten dream, relived to often to be erased wholly from memory. We fall back to what we know. In the trough she crouched, blackened knees under her chin. From across the meadows the sounds of slumber rolled like thunder. Stars pricked the sky, she waited for it to bleed a midnight blood. None was to come, not until morning.


Copyright: Samantha Ledger 


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