Thursday, July 26, 2012



I woke up in the wrong bed. My skin was tight and dry. My head ached.
I longed for an eye patch.
Outside in the mists of the morning I could hear the neighbors engaging in calisthenics, their smug grunts rang out over the hills.

I sighed and rolled over, pressing my lugubrious frame flush with the mattress.
My mother came in the room and began to iron. As she ironed she lectured me about the bed I was in. She had many valid points.
I understood her. But she took my silence as moodiness and was unhappy.
I said to her, “I agree, with you. It’s just that my right eye hurts so much, my head aches. All though the night I tossed and turned in my own bed, till the sheets became tangled and moist with my suffering. Please forgive me, for seeking relief in the cool fresh sheets of the guest bed. Could you open the window, please, let the cool air in.”
She was placated and eagerly flung the heavy leaden window open. Fresh cool morning air poured into the room.
She returned to her ironing and a deep peace set into the guest bedroom. It was not to last.
“Mom, can I borrow an eye-patch,” I asked casually.

“Why would I have an eye-patch? What do you need an eye-patch for?
A dark expression lit my mother’s features as she narrowed her focus to a single stubborn pleat.
I rolled over to face the window. Soon this bed would be as tangled and as damp as the one I had passed the night in.
A large black crow landed on the window seal. My mother yelped,. gathered up her linens and scampered out of the room. She had no fondness for birds.
There are no screens on the windows of this house.
The crow flew in the room and landed softly on the bed. It made its way slowly towards me grasping and tearing the sheets with its claws.
I did not drive it away.
It pounced upon my chest and dug its claws into my flesh.
Blood rushed to the surface of my skin: it ran in rivers between my ribs.
Deep dark splats of blood spread out from me. It stained the sheets.
More to clean. More to scrub.

I attempted to sit up and swat at the bird. Success was not my friend. The crow dug its talons deeper into my chest.
What was the point of further struggle? All was waste, ruin, and, work.
In a fast and fluid motion the crow leaned forward and plucked out my right eye.
My eyeball was so firmly in the crows grip, so clearly at home crushed between its wood colored claws that I did not attempt to recover it. The crow rose on the current of its wings, and, quicker than a thought it was gone.
From the vantage point of the crow’s claw I could see many things I had not seen before. From above I saw the broad wind swept streets of my tiny village. I saw my neighbors engaged in calisthenics.
The content of my immediate world shifted and was replaced by endless miles of blue sky. The endless sky was enhanced by the endless miles of deep blue ocean below.
The rush of flight, of constant motion bubbled up with in me, and the vast insignificance of myself, of the crow, of my dear mother and her ironing, swelled within me. The random careless beauty of all life lifted me and the crow still higher.
My headache was gone. The pain was gone. My vision, my depth of knowledge was expanded.
I set to work scrubbing the sheets clean of my blood.

© Callan 2012

Callan's work is featured at Six Sentences and her blog: theworksofjanecallan.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've ever made it clear how much Callan's work entertains me. More often than not, it's over the top in situational content, but there is always a subtle cogency making itself evident on a second or third reading. And I always read her pieces several times. Never disappointed.


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