Published in Plumwood Mountain, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2015
Also in Flett's chapbook, Vessel, published by Garron Publishing, 2016
No-one else has seen inside this bairn.
She’s just wee. The sky does not yet curve down
around her. It is still contained
in a blue strip at the top of the page.
She’s setting her place for breakfast
but has stopped half-way between
the crockery cupboard and the table.
The sun is just-risen above the roof of her building
so that she can see the reflection of her windows
in the windows of the building opposite.
She doesn’t know it’s a reflection.
It seems a thing of itself a thing that appears
and disappears with the light. In her hands
a cup is moulded around its cup-worth of space.
In her head something is rugging at the reins
of the kitchenette clock.
She has asked her mother a question.
When you get older do you remember more?
And her mother has answered Aye, I suppose you do.
The bairn kens this is the wrong answer.
She kens her mother means you have more things
to remember, there’s more living filling your head
but what the bairn means is will she remember
being born will she remember
where she was before she was born?
She doesn’t ken how to ask the question.
Instead, she has stopped to remember
her hands cooried around a space
she is carrying to a table a cup
inside which reflected light pings.
She watches her hands move apart.
She watches the cup drop and break
the pieces spanghewing in different directions
making new angles of light forming
the beginning of kenning how we go beyond what we are
an awareness of being and not being
a first meme that will repost versions of itself
in her brain until she comes to see that
the cup isn’t what matters.
It’s lunchtime. They’re still in bed.
When the morning was thinner
they went foraging running naked
to the kitchen reenging
through cupboards for cereal
eating it straight from the packet.
They raided the fridge and kissed
with mouths full of strawberries, yoghurt
the pink-white mess of their tongues.
Now she has woken into the middle
of the day. The sun has tension spinning
its heat into a rope that warps through the window
down onto her belly an umbilical cord
drookit with roaring. He’s asleep on his stomach
beside her the dip and rise of his arse the blonde hairs
pushing up through his skin. In her belly
the roar comes from way back from out of the mud
-sucking swamps a roar or grunch that says hungry.
She wants to call it love but it’s not that waffie
human thing. It’s grander. Almost geological.
Not of her making something from the dark ages
lingering in the background
like cosmic microwaves. It must have been there
when Paleolithic hominins were fucking
in forests and caves all matted hair
and ugsome nails, their outlines like faded
daguerrotypes imprinted within her silhouette.
It must have been there when Chaucer’s medieval
couples were fucking in pig-pens and haystacks
the skirmish of petticoats the clap of leather aprons,
their peching breath still here filling her lungs.
He wakes and rises on the opposite side of the bed
uncurtaining the windows he lives behind.
She sees herself wee inside them and he draws her
further in until their skin is sliding like rain
the tectonic grind of their pelvic collision
hands cupped around each other.
Her head is so full questions inside questions
things she doesn't know how to ask. But she knows
there is nothing bigger than this:
hunger and fulfilment fucking
and sleeping and waking the filling
and emptying of the world.
They’re together at the table.
The skin-and-bones of their meal is in front
of them. Striations of tomato sauce stripe
their plates, showing the pathways of their chips.
His reading glasses sit cross-legged
on the scrubbed wood. In the lenses the reflection
of his face is much smaller than his actual face
the same way that she holds only the totiest
image of him in her mind never kenning
who he is, who she is where they stop and
where the outside begins. She touches the back
of his hand where the star at the centre
of their universe has touched it
runkling and freckling leaving its mark.
He knots his fingers around hers.
Behind him the kitchen door is open.
An earlier rain has pixelated the flyscreen
making a pattern like a calendar
with some of the days exed in.
From outside comes the racket of crickets
sawing through the evening’s minutes
splitting them into their infinite parts.
She lets go his fingers and watches
her hands move in around her cup
which is full of tea. She blows down on it
so that the surface coruscates into miniature
waves that break against the inside edges
and switter back to the centre.
She thinks of the sound-waves of crickets
moving the hammer and anvil in her ear
to send their song to her brain.
Wind blows through the flyscreen popping empty
some squares of water changing the cross-stitch.
She feels the skirr of outside
pigeons’ feet prattling on the tin roof
blowflies ellipsing the porchlight
like planets. Even the spaces between
blades of grass in the lawn are alive:
beetles, grubs stoor, stones
seeds, roots all the wee things
doing their work. Sky in her een
cup in her hands she wonders
what is hers?
[AF1]Finally realised that your suggestion to cut these last lines makes this a better ending!