29 October 2006

Scented Fire

He rang his mother
from another continent and
reported that he had married the girl he'd been telling her all about.

And his mother
gathered his things
(only a little mouse-eaten)
from his shrine of a room . . .
his cricket bat,
his sectioned plans of robot elephants and biomechanical hands,
his sport awards and academic commendations and
outgrown shoes,
his tiny (though boggly on him then) first pair of spectacles . . .
And she found every picture of him from
his auspicious first day, on:
and burnt them
praying for the dead.

And when the money
he sent home the next week
was more than it had ever been before
his mother found it impossible not
to ask, when he rang as always
on the first day of the month:
"You have another job?"

"No," he chuckled,
and chucked Emily in
the ribs, and they giggled
through their faces
but not their mouths
while he explained:
"It was Emily"
(such a strange and ugly name)
"who made me do it."

And when,
the next year,
he and Emily
returned to his family home,
the smells of too much food
ran out to the street to greet them.

And soon the room of Emily's husband
rustled with the sound of mice, but
it was just a man and his wife
missing his childhood.

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