Rattle and Spin
by Jeanette Sheppard
She is in this room. She has white hair. She is in a chair with wheels. Your eyes are meant to see, to hold the world. Go on, hold out your hands. Cut out your sharp tongue. She is not a fool. Don’t dress her in clothes that she would never have worn. Dress her in colour and crimson painted nails. Hold her poems in your hand. Hear the chatter of office banter and taste the percolated coffee on the day she moved into her first flat. Lie on the cold pavement where she camped out to buy her first house. Let the wedding bells ring. Drift into blue skies; picnics plump with reds and greens eaten on mown grass; a soundtrack of laughter. Peel the apples caught from autumn trees. Squeeze out the Pomegranate seeds—fruit she can’t afford. Hear her tears as she snaps her Achilles Tendon dancing at a party. Both legs. Rest your pen while she sneaks hidden kisses with her lover under orchard boughs. Touch the disappointment when she discovers her autumn kisses belonged to another woman. Hear the scratch of pen on paper and witness the circle of light as she hides under covers. Feel the prickle of handpicked holly in the wreaths for sale that filled her bedroom every year that she grew. Forget about the test. In fact, don’t call it a test. Taste the days when she created soft meringue, scooped watermelon seeds in Australian skies. Even see the roast she can still cook. Go on, sit in her chair. She will pull up a chair, make you laugh until your mouth swells ready to burst. She will offer you flowers, the best she can afford even though you employ her—not the pink plastic wrapped ones she picked up today at the local store when she bought her bread and milk. Bird of Paradise. Anthuriums. Roses. She will hold her arms wide to protect you from the world even though you have just met. Watch her mop blood from my knees; hold my hand from the aeroplane as we step down on sticky tarmac thousands of miles from frozen skies. Sit among the penguins as they emerge from the warm midnight sea; marvel at the flicks of moonlight on water. Snuggle into the sand. Feel the grains trickle between your toes. See her turn me away from the blooded whales beached at Gunnamatta; wipe the blood stained air. Don’t let her see your bag though. She will lift your bag even though you go to the gym every night; she will tell you it is too heavy for you to carry. If you leave the room her voice will reach across the air and call you back. Don’t make her do it. Stay here awhile. I know the pee is strong and she can’t remember the words that just came out of her mouth, but I also know you have two minutes to sense more than the rattle and spin.
Rattle and Spin by Jeanette Sheppard first appeared in Bare Fiction Magazine Issue 10 (November 2017).