I dig my hands deep into the soil soft and cold, and crumbling. There are anemones to plant, and lavender, and the moss you scratched up from the forest. Then, suddenly: the cat’s tail! The bumblebee! A sword fight with the trowel! And then, again, you’re hungry.
I dig my hands into the dirt, to see if I can find a piece of me.
Clamped to my leg.
The deadly, peanut butter chokehold. I eat chocolate pressed up against the bathroom door. How many of you are there? It feels like 7, but I’m told I’ve only had 2.
My mouth holds more Lindor than it ever has before. And now, I hear crocs pounding on the stone tile floor. Like the last words spoken in the Mines of Moria, I whisper to myself, “they are coming.” Moments later I count out 10 marshmallows. Is it wrong to fancy Daddy Pig? What a baritone! I sink my teeth into their stodgy sweetness. Perhaps I will find my voice in amongst the serotonin rush.
Evening comes, la hora ingrata, thankless hour, literal crunchy crunch time.
I marvel at your productivity: twenty questions in half as many minutes, the upside-down turning of every space you occupy, and your ability to forgive my bad days with such aplomb.
And the mustard? Where’s the spotty mustard?
In the fridge door, where we last put it, where it always is! Where it belongs! My soup is cold, and too thick to show me a reflection. I study it all the same, wondering where my face has gone.
Alone, and gloriously so, I ache in places and parts I have never heard of. I feel I have done nothing, but all day I have not stopped. You are alive, clothed, schooled and fed. I should go to bed, but perhaps I’ll stare at my screens a little too long.
Things wobble now, that did not used to. Like Bono, I haven’t found what I feel I’ve lost. But it is there, right there, for this chapter, for this season: smeared on the wall; in my panda eyes; in the soup; the sweeties. There, in the soil;
in your sticky faces; the dinner you didn’t eat...
I love you so much! I love you so much!
But, oh, how much more do I love when you’re asleep!
Wool, sticky, static, sticking to my neck if I just hurry I might outrun this, like I used to,
sleep in late, run for the bus, always on time but now my nose itches as I shove past
pedestrians throwing a breathless “excuse me” over my shoulder, plastic handles cut
into my hands but there’s not time to shift their weight if I stop this it’s all over right
here, right now, in the street, I am a dog on a leash, I am a drunk stumbling home,
there’s is no grace or beauty to be had, even for ready money. I rummage through
pockets so full of everything except what I need when I most need it; where are the
damn keys? Lights are on, neighbours are in, I cannot stop to ask after Etienne at
summer camp, or compliment anyone’s geraniums. It aches where they cut me and it
aches where you lived all those months ago now, although my body still thinks it was
yesterday. I fumble the door code once, twice, then a bag hits the floor (not the one with
the eggs) beep-beep-beep-beep-crap I did it agai... no, I got it right this time as the
longer buzzing sound bids me enter but there are serpentine staircases to be slayed and
many breaths to be taken and, sod it, I still haven’t found my keys, and the other bag is
still out in the rain but, oh! They were in the other pocket but, there goes my bus pass
falling in between metal grating to the floors below, I will have to get it later for now
there is hope, blinding hope as I spot our tattered shoe trunk standing guard outside the
door, just a few steps more and I’ll be home free but wait, that’s not the right key, why
do we have so many keys? We have only one door and it’s too late! It’s too late! Oh bollocks!
I’ve peed all over the floor.
Elizabeth M Castillo is a British-Mauritian poet, writer and language teacher. She lives in Paris with her family and two cats. When not writing poetry, she can also be found working on her MA or webcomic, or writing a variety of different things under a variety of pen names. She has work in or upcoming in Selcouth Station Press, Pollux Journal, Authylem Magazine, and Tuna Fish Journal, among others.