The Third Day, Cobble

Kisa sat down in the old village square
She hugged her baby and cried and cried
She said everybody is always losing somebody
Then walked into the forest and buried her child
— Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Hollywood

Her feet were miniaturized and they moved more slowly than the rest of her homo erectness that defiantly lurched towards the imperfection of heaven — she were then a clear black scrawl extended from the bubbling and shifting gray silt to the colorless, birdless travesty of sky.

Photo by Freysteinn G. Jonsson on Unsplash

She surveyed the entire convexity of her belly with curious hands, sheathed in callouses, an unplanned protection against the ward of nettles guarding their food. She hasn’t yet become a collection of words, but she tastes raspberries by crushing and smearing them against her hard palate as she sifts out the seeds for spitting. Fibrous but sweet fructose pinched with astringent aqueducts over her molars and she smiles to counterpoint the drab omens of overcast as she swallows.

She spits her seeds and squats as the fetus kicks to conceive of herself giving birth to a bounty of minnow, a cornucopia of squirming and flopping from her canal, a plethora of life, plopping stool-like into the river delta. She laughs a seal bark at the picture in her mind, bearing an eddy of fresh flesh for everyone. Hungry hands knock over one another to clamber for squirm-slippery catch while she barks hilariously at the sea — providing what it cannot.

But a gaunt, pallid image strikes to quickly tamp the silliness of her daydreamt glee: [Had she already become a vessel for the technological infection of words, the designate would be: memory. But here, now, memories are shadows of the unrecognized present, a faint skein on existing, for the solidification of “existence” is as yet unknown. Time now wants, ever more than now, for more dimensions, and We haven’t yet given it a past or a future tense.] a bald and quiet diminutive skeleton of cold skin lying motionless in the clay, stiff arms end in clenched, once-anguished fists. Across her tiny feet, the silt taps out code in spumes of brackish water, and conspires with the last tendrils of river algae to partially devour the corpse before spitting back his bones.

— Humans are alight and blazing with consciousness. From the coolness of the material world and its waning coagulations, We are arising phoenix-like, proto-remnants of the sheer brightness of the beginning, forged as we were in that original furnace.

She is not reaching down to pick up the dead child. [She isn’t listening to Me.] She is not reaching down to help the dead child. She is wanting to run, but she is staring at the shriveled corpse she has coughed into the universe. She is unable to close the gape of her mouth, and she is unable to run. [This is not happening, even if it has.] She is standing empty and tall against a cloudy horizon, but she is also crouched down, barking out her piscine imagination tapping out code in hoots of laughter.

She comes here every day, until she won’t, and tends tenderly to the child who has arrived. This undead child needs her full attention. Even raspberries must wait. But she can’t remember that yet. [She is not listening to the future. In truth, she can’t even hear it yet!]

Her seedman is eating small rocks — I am allowed to infer that he believes this will allow him to also carry the hopeful burden of child. [I have been there, so it is true. Without grunts, he touches her stomach and is surprised by its firmness, which reminds him of placing his hand on a tree and placing his hand on a rock. He remembers that it reminds him more of a rock. And he looks unhungrily at a stone roughly the size of her stomach. He confirms that it neither fits into his mouth to swallow whole, nor can it be gnawed effectively no matter the angle of approach. So, with much effort and to great tribal confusion, he brings this particular rock, peculiar in how it looks comfortable with a smooth indentation where a head could lay, to a ledge where they are dropping coconuts. He drops the rock, and sees it fracture into hundreds of shards with great satisfaction. He collects the rocks in a makeshift bowl of ibex hide, ingesting smaller chunks with ashy residue of ruptured coconut. He walks uncomfortably back with such a heavy burden. At every feeding, he crushes the cobbles and attempts to eat them. She knocks them away as he brings them to his mouth, and he is angry. But he takes her hand in his, and places them both on her wriggling stomach. And then he eats his minerals along with the grubs.]

The laughter at the end of her breath is strained and she winces to vanish the morbid image of her stillbirth. While wriggling worms and protozoa float weightlessly on the inside of her shuttered eyelids, a curdling symphony of distress solidifies in her sternum, and a wretched sensation wells like she is going to vomit up poison berries, so she falls to her knees and elbows, and opens her mouth wide and silent to facilitate egestion. Her whole torso, inside and out, is uncomfortably ignited with a tingling, creeping electricity, and she heaves, but silently, as the energy carbonates into her parted lips. The grief becomes body, and without knowing how exactly, she purges herself by shedding the skin of unwanted history in convulsing soundless sobs.

She traces the orbit of the life that kicks inside with soiled fingertips as she stares off into the rich blue and choppy, frustrated waters of the Bengal Bay, soothed by the incessant percolation of small waves. She senses the liquid inside of her belly gurgling with the same tidal ebbs and flows.

Younger and unburdened with pregnancy, she is running along the cobbled jetties, basking in the cool pelting of crashing spray. She squats to splash her upturned face, both anxious and shy of the wetness, only half-dousing herself. She looks down. And not deep under the water, a child mermaid’s face bruised by waves meets her gaze. She is transfixed, for she has seen this elusive creature before, cooing to her in strewn shells from the shallows. A wave disrupts her, and she is gone.

She leans back, and lets the flushing waters puzzle at her crotch and thighs. She wants to give birth into water, to litter the ocean with flourishing spawn so that her mysterious mermaid companion will know companionship. So that together they will bring her copious gifts of fish to share with the tribe.

— Here’s the difficult rub. If she gives birth to a healthy child, the matriarchal tribal infrastructure will begin an arc of decay. For as the old adage goes, give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day; give birth to the man who will learn to fish, and you will feed him forever.

[Is this where we need to be, then?]

— This and many others. It is a place We can be.

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