Saturday, August 13, 2005

I was afraid and then

This just in from the remarkable Emma Ramey:

She dips her foot in the lake and the fish circle, the perfect synchronicity. They have teeth, the fish, but she controls them with each wriggle of the toe. The bait, the battle. In the mornings, a bowl of cereal. _The raisin girl_, she is. _I’m so sorry for everything._ Is it the fish. Or is it the little girl curled up between her lungs, sleeping. There’s a lullaby somewhere, in between the circling. Even she is tired, the whole leg slipping beneath the water, the fish scattering. Is there control in cautiousness. The question she whispers. Is there sadness in the fish. Were there even teeth. Even fish. Was there even an Alison.

In a few days, the water will evaporate. Just a drought, but she will worry. There will be a band of bees, circling. With each blink of the eye, they will change direction. She will cover her face with her hands and wait for the swelling of stings. Until her legs tire and then she will sit. It is then that the bees will leave and ask her to follow them. It isn’t time to give up, they will say. The fish will come back, with legs. It is time to go, they will say. The little girl will wake up. She will climb carefully through muscle, through fat, then gnaw her way through the skin and it will hurt. Sorry, she will say then climb onto the back of a fish. It is time. Alison will have to decide to stay where she is without water or to make the journey, read the drought as sign.

This now is just a prediction. She will say, there was a girl once, some fish. I was afraid. She will bleed onto the cracked land from the hole left by the little girl. Those she once feared will turn back, walk up to her, kiss her wound. Even the bees. Follow us, they all will say. You were afraid , once, but so were we. You ate cereal. You clicked your heels. You let the little girl fall asleep. And now. And now I am moving my feet, Alison will say, hands on hips. I am afraid but so are you. And she will find it again. The curiosity. And she will climb onto the back of a fish and let it carry her to the west to the water where she will jump in. The fish, the bees, the girl parting ways with a wave, a nod, a see you soon.