Wednesday, 14 April 2010

‘I See Shawcroft On The Seashore’

Down by the river, by the waters edge, Arthur makes them take their clothes off, fold them, put them in neat little piles. Like tiny cotton gravestones, little boy’s pants and socks lie beside the riverbank. "Fold the clothes," he says. It makes them think they'll put them on again. There's a tiny nest of hope so they're quiet and pliant. The sun is always shining by the riverbank – fish, like pennies in a fountain, pop and glimmer, flash bulbs under currents. Long grass borders the banks, reaching up to touch low hanging apple tree branches, and plunge thirstily down into the dark soil. Down by the river, by the waters edge, Arthur, a fruit press of anger, holds them down, river-muddy knees in divots and on breastbones; and guts like a fisherman to hasten decay, opening up to the elements like an umbrella, exposing ribbing and skin. Arthur really thinks about these things, down by the river, by the waters edge, alive; he eats, sleeps and drinks; combs his hair, eats toast, sits in chairs, drinks milk, shaves, buys socks, reads the news, and folds clothes. Arthur is different. I have a line solid and defined. Arthur has the muddy Genesee flowing through him, cloudy and brown. In the stoneless avocado the balsamic sits like a full stop. The moment of death, we do not know when it has arrived or even when it has passed, only that it is coming. Here it comes, eyes tight shut to the instant of my dying, here it comes at such a rapid speed that my face has not the time to form the correct image of shock and incomprehension of the tiny second when my life stops being current and becomes part of the collective past. In the stoneless avocado the balsamic sits like a full stop. Then I am gone. My world is gone but yours continues unstoppable until the moment of your cherry-death.

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