Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Prodigal

It is easy in the end, to stand in the wreckage, much easier than she had hoped, the huge door tilting on its hinges, parallelograms of sky at unreasonable angles. Alisha stands in the middle of the space and makes herself breathe in the mushroom smells of wet-wood, clover and owl-life. A broken chair lies on its side, rotting into the earth, its pink paint peeling away in fatigue patterns.

Outside in the field, the day is forfeiting its light to the storm, a low sky billows out before the wind, grey as a forgotten sheet. Alisha feels in her pocket for the key, but it is no available. Her fingers worry the dusty corners of her pockets, make themselves sore for what is irretrievable now. At the far end of the barn is the ladder, staggering up to the old hayloft. Old rosettes hang at jinxed angles. She remembers warming her hands on the side of the horse, creeping in here to lean against a single true thing, but it is as though she once read about it, rather than did it.

The rain comes in from the West, with its puzzling, volatile perfume. And at the edge of the field the evening's ignorant owl cries Who? into the dropping light. I am writing this so that it will stay true.