Friday, 24 February 2012

The Prodigal: The Graveyard

"How will I know it" Electra wondered as she wandered through the cemetary with its rotting gravestones and ivy paths. She had arrived here as though by accident, but in retrospect it had been a kind of treasure hunt. First there had been the mirror reflecting a reclaimed wilderness, foxgloves and clover in reverse. It had intrigued her, and she had pushed past the broken pink chair and stepped right in. The cold air settled between her shoulderblades like the chill palm of a hand. Then she had seen the necklace hanging from the warped apple tree. It looked astonishing from a distance, a necklace of moon clippings. But when she reached for it, she withdrew her hand quickly, repelled. It was made entirely of broken fingernails.
She had felt then a kind of giddyness which, combined with the icy dazzle of the day, had made her blink and breathe. "Blink" she had said. "And breathe."

Last of all she had seen the body, and it was not at all what she had been expecting. It was the body of a boy, beautiful. Maybe an almost man. He was printed with letters, as though someone had written poetry all over him and sealed it in in salt tears and amber oils. His flank was a blue tattoo: your mouth here and here and here, in the blue of very good dark plums. Along his jawline she read I smile my feral smile. She reached out and turned up his palms. There are two words. Pity and Love. And she heard a faraway voice in her head ask "Why are you telling me this?"

7 comments:

Morven said...

Very lovely Claire, I especially like the necklace of fingernails - an image after my own leanings!

Claire said...

Thank you, Morven

Lynn said...

Even more beautiful to read a second time, hearing you voice it in my head, xx

Claire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claire said...

Thanks Lynn, it was a lush grand evening all round

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Thanks for your comment on my Earthquake memorial Claire. The day felt so sad and heavy.

I see that you have re-written your profile. Fantastic! And this passage hits the spot. I like the necklace of moon clippings too.

Love Jeneane

Claire said...

Thanks Jeneane,
but how wonderful to transform something so sad into a piece of tragic beauty, to share with the world, to remind us all how blessed we are in such surprising ways xx