Friday, July 16, 2010

Under the Altar

He laid his feet on the floor and stood up, his knees buckling like keel wood. ‘damn if I can make a fist without flinching’ he mumbled, the cigarette dangling from his lip like a hanged paper doll, the spent match fizzing sulfur. Reaching across the bedstead he grabbed hold of the post, his fingers rigoring the catch on the night table. He opened the drawer and walked his fingers along the bottom. He could feel the glove pushed up against the screw holes. His thumb scaling the silver buttons he grabbed hold of the middle finger and charily tugged the glove free. He swooned backwards, the juniperus smell of the glove reminding him of his mama’s temper and burst veins. The day his mother abandoned him he wailed and fussed until the rector’s assistant picked him up and carried him into the church. He lived in a box under the altar until he was old enough to fend for himself, his mamma’s glove the only thing he had to remember her by. When he was strong enough to stand on his two feet the rector sent him off into the world, telling him ‘don’t let anyone fill your head with nonsense…and stay close to the shoulder, may God be with my boy’. His hat aureoling his scarlet face he set out into the world, the sun a handbreadth from the top of his head.

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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