18 July 2013

Not Him

The first thing to go is his scent. I know it was clean, soapy. Green soap towel-dried sun cream three showers a day clean. And metallic. Boxes of screws. Hessian bags of feed, seed. Creosote fence posts. And sweet: balsamic, pomegranate, pineapple. Eyes closed, I could pick him out of a police lineup of all my ex-lovers, but I can’t actually remember it.

Childless Gepetto longed for a son, so he carved one. Pine, nails, glue, chisel, hammer, saw, paint, hinges, screws…what rough magic transfigures scrap into a real live boy? I set a table: seashells, a woolen sweater, a sod of turf, whitebait, a worn leather belt, wild mushrooms, a ramekin of olive oil, a cork, cherry tomatoes on the vine, honeysuckle, bicycle grease. Blindfolded, I forage, layer, discard. Not him. Not him. Not him.

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