Academic journal article Hecate

The Noise That the House Made

Academic journal article Hecate

The Noise That the House Made

Article excerpt

the noise the bedroom made was her numb determination/ as she hacksawed their marital bed in two/ she said: he can't hurt my feelings because i haven't got any/ so that each stale half rested quietly & separately/ growing cobwebs like wrinkles/

the noise was a four-year- old girl afraid of the dark/ the long whine from the blankets all night: mum i wanna drink of water/ until even after she had stopped calling out/ the hallway walls sighed: oohhh we wanna drink of water/ as though they were thirsty/ despite the financial tears they were built on/

the noise my brother made as he shuffled his cot towards the door was hyperactive/ his screwed up red face & fist curled tightly around the bottle of cow's milk/ lactose storms splashing the blue walls of tantrums/

the noise is my father pissed/ falling into the swimming pool/ filled with green algae & mosquito larva/ gulping down water beneath the warped clothesline/ & jumping up so my mother would notice him/ her sharp face covered in mock icing from the sunbeam/

irritated by him indulging in slime/ after pushing out the cupcakes she scrubbed the kitchen clean/ the noise is a wet plop as a fish leapt to freedom/ slamming eye first into grey speckled lino/ found by my mother a few days later/dried like prune & covered in dog hair/

the noise that the house made was the murder of childhood/ the cold fist appeared in the silence of the hallway/ from the midst of the blue walls & paint-chipped skirting boards/ children's heads collided & cracked like thunder/ before dissolving into grief & deep carpet tumults/

(once i bumped my forehead on the sharp corner of a cupboard/ so that my mother would rub oily yellow butter into the huge purple lump)/ (then another time i broke the light in the refrigerator door & was beaten by her/ until i jogged like a ragged doll in her skinny white arms/ her tears mingling with mine as my toes tap danced the carpet)/

children hit the floorboards like stones with bruised thighs & upper arms/ (my father was a detective who witnessed the corpses of parents/ shocked toddlers sitting beside them/ fried eggs sliding down the walls in trails of grease/ cold omelettes & pools of crimson disappearing into cracks beneath the broken porcelain)/

the noise is black flies glued to the ceilings & footsteps down corridors & overturned refrigerators flooding the kitchen with grocery liquids/ & brooding houses built with bricks of regret on unstable foundations/ with torn 1960s wiredoor flyscreens & broken down trampolines/

& a stray ginger tom who no one has told to move on/ only the goldfish sedated in the bowl & the budgie in the cage were left silently observing/ & the turtle & rabbit were very quiet/ when my father took down the smith & wesson/ he cried in the backyard sandpit/ like a child witnessed by no one/

ribs/ gizzards/ chunks of fat/ & small bones/ this was wobbling in the pick-up truck in traffic/ in front of me/ racecourse road/ this is what goes into lard/ gelatine lactic acid collagen/ keratin lanolin oestrogen progesterone elastin/ do you recognise them? …

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