Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"You Should Have Built Tall, You Should Have Built Wide" By Jenny Holden

I am leaving now. This is in spite of many things. The early sun by the food slab which warms my carapace, so that were anyone to touch me they would recoil. The tender exposure of my neck which I rest sometimes on the ground, hearing bird noise. The likely acquaintance of fools and spiders, out there. Practicalities: the grass which tickles where I have not flattened it, and the fence, my whole world. It is taller than me, but not much. If I wait a little, I will have some movement. I think up, up, and manipulate the air, tread it beneath me. You think I move like a wind-up drunkard, with risible precision, but you are wrong. It is deliberate. I show consideration in all things. Your seas are full of mavericks without shells and I wouldn't be a wheeling bird for all your world. I have toes, and they make contact with wood. We make an unnatural triangle. Pointing upwards I see the sky for the first time, though I am not young. It is close over my head, and empty of its rain. I used to shelter under the lip of the fence, but now I balance on top, tipping this way and that like scales, my stupid legs dangling either side. A piece of kit, the inner workings of machinery; no one should witness this. I am ridiculous to you, but not to myself. The technical sketches, a few bits of ply – you built me a Heath Robinson shambles to live in. Your god, meanwhile, stuck me in a nutshell, and riles me to this day. I side with you, with your can-do attitude. You feed me dandelion leaves; I eat them from your hand; this looks like camaraderie. I'd bite you if I could, instead I clamp my dinosaur jaws about your two fingers. You feel my tongue. We are at an impasse. When you are gone I still feel those fingers in my mouth, though they have transformed into half a cucumber slice, which goes down wetly. I am a layman's idea of indecision, pedalling air. There is a moment of catastrophe. Like all things, it passes. A new phase moves into position, and sticks: I am on new concrete. I leave my boxed life behind me; you can burn your planks and buy a mutt. I find it difficult to walk – a siren, the sound of brakes. I will rest a moment here, in my own darkness. If I could, I'd smash you; if only you knew.

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