The Unwavering Sound of Invisible Things


Warm feet and socks, sweaty brow, half-opened soft mouth, dummy hanging on for dear life. Pale light glistens on slabbers, above and below. The trembling dummy falls. Pali! Pali! Not yet, poor dear. Have faith: a lie long known to be true. Where's nanny? God knows you love her for the right reasons. Your daddy's a strange one. Let him cast the first stone.

Forget time and listen for sound, faint or loud. A bin is moving rubbish, speckling and confident like orange tea in a swimming pool. Does no one hear it? Not the sleeper, the cow's milktaker. A small sharp cry, a change in position. Not yet awake, nor any intention of doing so. Lying still upon the knee.

First cause, second cause, third cause . . . Pali! Pali! Not yet. Have faith. The tide is out. Will it come back? She scratches her head though still asleep, muffled and huddled. Silence no longer hidden by a pillow, a blanket, a healthy appetite for a doze. Flaxen hair, rosy cheeks, pumping heart, still rhythms. Still in life, still in death. A soft sigh, wipe of the eye, change in position. Fourth cause, fifth cause, sixth cause . . . Pali! Pali! Forget time, listen to the unwavering sound of invisible things.

Warm milk and bobo aids sleep upon the knee. Change of position, the sleeper oblivious, possibly dreaming. The young body centre stage. The old body stretched out, mouth open, transformed. Upon the knee, the cow's milktaker. Warm feet and socks, sweaty brow, half-opened soft mouth, dummy hanging on for dear life. Where's nanny? A jailer bound to a prisoner. Has it crossed her mind?

Feet swing from a warm bed. Flushed face, mouth dripping, eyes blank. Restless steps on stairs, faint then still. Wide-eyed. A funereal cry. Face bereft of a groan, a giggle. Fluster flanks the unwavering sound of invisible things. The cow's milktaker murmurs strange, sleepy sounds. The old body is stretched out, mouth open, cut off from the world. Where's nanny? Forget time, lie still upon the knee. The chill night will come soon enough.

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Reflection:  Similar to love and friendship, health is fragile and complex. One can protect, but not influence the outcome.