Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Kick the Bastard

Lela stood in front of the Seder Grocer’s admiring the reflection of the person next to her, his greatcoat coattails hanging in tatters. The man, as indeed he was a man, perhaps a gentleman, had a hardnosed look on his bewhiskered face, the face of a journeyman or a jailor. She troubled with asking him if she might pull on his coattails, realigning them with the jib of his wooly trousers. But soberer thought told her that she best mind her own business and let bygones be. But why not, she thought? A man, any man, would be grateful to have a complete stranger, someone altogether unknown to him until today, draw attention to an obvious and glaring impropriety in personal attire. Not wishing to appear untoward, or worse, a troublemaker, she turned and walked away, his reflection sutured in her thoughts.

The following day, a day much like the day before, yet in and of itself an altogether precedential day, Lela awoke in a foul and uncharitable mood. Had I a mind to I’d give him a good talking to! Not clothing oneself propitiously is a sin. By the age of twelve Lela had already read A through P of her grandfather’s Funk and Wagnall, consigning to memory those words she felt she might need when she grew older. She twirled a braid of hair round her middle finger, the moon laurelling her head like a birds’-nest halo. Kick the bastard in the teeth, send his upper plate unhinging. The steeple of his head warding off lightening strikes, a common phenomenon when the temperature plummeted below 27½% Celsius, the man who’s reflection Lela admired in the window turned and skedaddled headlong up the sideways, his greatcoat tails rag-tagging behind him. She remembered how hot the woolshed got when her father banished her to think about what she’d said; the few sheep her granddad kept caked in shit and piss, the stench of mildewed hay bringing a sweat out on her forehead.

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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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