Sunday, 3 August 2008

Sleep for 100 minutes

At the allotment, scooping up a handful of glossy purple french beans that I had left in a shady spot to pick up before locking the gate, a fat and jagged splinter stabbed into my finger. Blood and tears poured. A shard of cruel wood had managed to find a spot right on my fingertip under the nail. I squeezed hard there, cursed my trim left hand violinist's fingernails as I braced myself to hold still enough to try to pull it out. Impossible.

Upstairs on the bus home, I cried behind my sunglasses as I kept the sorry finger pressed tight against my thumb. Boiling the kettle, sterilizing a needle, pouring salt into a bowl, I was putting off the moment, anticipating a sudden gut clenching yelp each time I tried to find the right place. I stood in the final momentary clarity of a shaft of afternoon sunlight, that intense golden moment just before a tall chimney stack blocks out the direct light here, and with a deft flick of the fine sharp I had it clean out of me. A thickly dark sphere of blood rose after it.

On the sofa later, I got lost reading the same line over and over again and entered a magical world full of echoing incantations and poetic repetitions and ramblings. I slept for a hundred minutes to be awoken by the sudden thump of my book falling to the floor.