Tuesday, January 31, 2006

All in Clover

First, it is winter. The cold and the white of the brick seems to hold them as it surrounds them. It is night time, too, in the winter, and they are fighting, slowly, against the cold. If you look closely you can trace the gasp of fight in what is left of their eyes. In what remains of their fingertips.

They were different once to what they are now. They wore yellow blue red ribbons which they tied tight beneath their throats. They grew eyelashes and fingernails and painted them all. In certain lights, by certain stars, they were enough to take some breath. Their knees held them true and kept them away from the push of brick walls. On their feet they carried the true price of love.

They were once of colour and once of life. They were a something fixture around the town. We looked for them there and always found them there. In the mornings they caught the light and took a little for themselves. The darkness crept respectfully around them. As they moved too quickly for it anyway.

Main Street, the town hall, the post office, the laundrette, the grocery store, the enormous shout of the day. The barbershop with a cracked mug for every name. The creak of the signs and the shadows from the signs. The graveyard on the hill. Its presence noted from the windows of the trains. They were caught beneath the threat of machinery, the wires scoring the horizon. They held tight against the shudder of blue overalls at the back of the tearoom. Slow, dim-witted men holding too tight to their teaspoons and talking too high above the rumble of the morning’s headlines.

And these two who were never in eyeglasses. Who wore neither grey stockings that shrank from their thighs. Who avoided the wrap of grey wool, sodden and heavy, with its dousing of fire. Who neither fastened misremembered buttons, nor felt the sad cut of the cheapest cloth. Who found nothing in the tucks of their pockets. Who felt nothing even as they cried through it all.

But they were, for one night only, Easter floral and wee bonnie buttons. Masks. Never mind the cigarette butts against the black of the floor. Or their polished shoes illuminating their faces above. Arm in arm as they stood oblivious to the river crawling slowly behind them. The river that cast its shadows to the edge, boxing them in. Capturing them, for one night only, for once and for all.

Behind them, the stagger of a doorway. As they gazed ahead, smiling even, oblivious to the water, the fag ends, the fall of the brickwork, the stains, the slicks. The empty doorway that they didn’t notice, because there was no reason to notice, no reason to turn around. Empty doorways, locked doors. Who really walks through them?

Maybe it was because. Just because.

But they stand there now, immoveable, fixed. They are a walk from one end of the town to the other. Push them and they would not fall. The shadows hold them tall.


Blogger Molly Bloom said...

I think this is brilliant.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

This is more than enough to take some breath itself. Beautiful. I particularly like the mix of ethereal and down-to-earth.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yer its definitely a bird verse ;¬)

Shannon your commenting now? You don't wait for the walk home to dish the crit or the look over the should whilst the artist is at work to snatch the preview?


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