Saturday, 10 September 2011

Scaggy Mishkin

The moon is on its back, having a smoke behind the trees, but still its dappled face briefly illumines her smile, and the stream, full of old iron. Here she comes: Scaggy Mishkin, vagrant, blues harpist and small time metal dealer. She zigzags through the forest using ancient tracks that are known to her only by the shapes of mysterious stars tattooed onto the inside of her wrists. It is in this mazy light that she chances upon the apple tree, tree of knowledge, beloved of serpents and naked curious women. She checks the branches just in case. Scaggy Mishkin keeps her eyes open for the main chance, though her love life, if it can be called that, is somewhat at the mercy of her ugly moods and mercurial energies. Often it has been the case that she has torpedoed the main chance and been left with only the forlorn plain smell of love hearts, with their blurred print: big boy; miss you; and you're fab, melting on her tongue.

Through the forest into the underworld of legend, Mishkin treads softly. She carries so many things close to her heart: a recipe for pomegranate syrup, lint, an old coin which tastes of tears and gives her the sensation of tumbling back into her childhood. The earth smells of its treasures: hyacinth bulbs, jonquil roots and the intricate corsetry of woodlice. Now the curving tunnel of the fox shatters and she falls further, tumbling past the backs of industrious insects into Pluto's cave. She is suddenly amazed. The underworld has a nostalgic smell, as if some sunny splendour had not long since passed through it, like the passing of the dawn chorus which vanishes with the first rain. Struggling to recognise this world, Mishkin stands, knee-deep in its light. And from somewhere far off, she recognises a wild hunger growing in her.

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