Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gathered Things

I find myself sweeping up the shards of something I broke. A now unidentifiable thing that fell from my hands moments before, as I was still lost in some place between consciousness and the alternative.

The broom I am using has a long, crude wooden handle and as I sweep furiously, gathering the pieces in a blurry heap and raising enough dust to make my eyes water, my hands begin to bleed.

It is then that I hear a voice which surely must be my mother's telling me things I already know. You have left too many things unfinished. There have been other things shattered and gathered. You go too close to the brink. Too close.

I do not look up. A voice is nothing to see. I finish gathering the pieces as a pale drop of blood trickles down the handle and disappears into the head of the broomsticks. I tell myself that the breaking of this thing will be different from my other failings. This one will not have fallen to the earth in vain.

I step carefully across the yard of swept up pieces. Spitting the phlegm that has gathered in my throat as far as I can. I let the broom lean against the mud wall and and sit on an overturned mortar in the backyard. It is then that the real tears come.