I haven't been outside lately. The weather is cold and dishwatery and I feel like a prey animal carefully scraping damp soil around the front door. The horizon is lines of books, the poinsettia slowly dropping its bracts, sheaves of drafts barely awry for I hate rectangular things to be at an angle but not so much that I square off 350 pages of dog-eared A4.
I wander the house, idly fending off the wild entropy of houses, pile a dirty-snow heap of whites, wash a dish, a cup, another cup, another cup -- what have I been drinking? An immaculately parrot-eviscerated raisin shell behind the bedroom door. He sits damply on my shoulder beaking his scapula after a bath in the kitchen sink, fanned red tail and temperature-testing tetradactyl toes ginger under the tap, soundtrack close-packed oscilloscope squeals of delight watery glub-glub trills in the stream, roused wet feathers the sound of old paperbacks thumbed.
A late Christmas package comes from my brother. A knife, letter stamps, paper and ribbons, a necklace of wood stained red. I hold the knife in my hands --- the gift one should never give but that we have exchanged many times in our lives, the eye-crinkling, lung-filling euphoria of the fine blade. It is a cleaver, medium and squattish for vegetables, honeycombed hollow japanese handle a miniature steel catacomb. I roll the ribbons around my fingers. The bird puts triangular punches into glossy white paper. How I miss him, tall dark-eyed piece of myself who reaches into my mind and mails it to me wrapped in ribbons like tropical birds.
Naked in the sunshine state
1 month ago