yesterday a neighbourhood child,
i’ve known her to “hello” for years but don’t know her name,
rushed home to get me a plaster when this tiny cut on my finger wouldn’t stop bleeding.
the blood messed up the edges of the pages of a book,
got on the biscuit i was trying to eat, kept needing more tissues to soak it up.
i was trying to keep things tidy. i had so many things – too many, really –
i didn’t need that quantity of books or medicines or tissues, plus
i was weighed down by a lot of other stuff i hadn’t even planned to bring,
things which i’d tried to shut inside a cupboard whose door doesn’t fully close
and one handle falls off in your hand almost every time.
something somebody had said kept worming about inside me.
as fast as i could remove it,
and i was using all my powers to do that, as fast as i worked to get it out,
it found its way back into my empty spaces.
i think i’d hoped, i mean i thought i’d thunk, i had this idea that if i sewed
roughly a good amount of words and tidied around them,
and remembered to water them frequently if it didn’t rain for a while,
attended to weeding and that sort of thing, that i could keep the not-wanted at bay,
and fend off at least a proportion of the deeply unpalatable.
i realised i could use the paper bag which my biscuit had come in.
i’d be able to shove all the bloodied tissues into it, the sticky bit off the back
which you detach in order
to apply the plaster to your skin;
it was too late now to do anything about the edges of the pages being blood-stained,
but i could bury most of the rest of this mess
push it down into the far-off shadowy corners of the paper bag
(which must be mine now, since the biscuit was paid for and had come in the bag).
i would hide all the unsavouriness in the bag’s corners,
put the smaller bag into the recesses of the bag which i’d brought out with me,
get the whole ungodly mess into my bin once home
and nobody would be any the wiser.
and today i keep thinking that i wish i had kept my eyes on the child and noted
where exactly home is for her.
that i didn’t seems careless now. i wish i’d paid more attention.