Monday, May 17, 2010

No (pause)

I’m not sure what this is. Not a poem, exactly. Not even fiction really. It’s based on conversations we’d hear the girls have on the baby monitor late at night as they lay in their beds, years ago, when they first came to us (an earlier version of this appeared here a couple years ago).

Been thinking about adoption quite a bit lately. About the notion of the Other Mommy. Of sisters having whispered conversations in their beds. I believe a New Novel may be taking shape around this.

No (pause)

Are you sleepin?
No.
(pause)
What’re you thinkin?
About Other Mommy.
What about Other Mommy?
Where she is.
Where is she?
In the Other House. She lives there.
Can we go there?
Yes.
Will you take me there?
No.
Why?
We live here now.
(pause)
Can we go there tomorrow?
Yes.
Where Other Mommy is?
Yes.
(pause)
Where is Other Mommy?
Across the ocean. She lives there.
Where the war is?
Yes.
Can you see her?
No.
Is she in a hole?
Yes.
Can we go there?
Yes.
Will you take me there?
No.
Why?
We live here now.
(pause)
Are there holes there? Where the war is?
Yes.
Is that where the dead people go?
Yes.
In the holes.
Yes, in the holes.
(pause)
Will you take me tomorrow?
Take you where?
Where Other Mommy is.
Yes.
When?
Tomorrow.
To Other Mommy?
Yes.
(pause)
Where is Other Mommy?
In a hole.
She’s in a hole?
Yes. She lives there.
She lives in the hole?
Yes.
In the Other House?
Yes.
A hole in the Other House?
Yes.
Can she talk to us?
Yes.
What will she tell us?
It’s time to go to sleep.
(pause)
Okay.
(pause)
Are you sleepin?
No.
(pause)
Is that other man with Mommy?
No. He’s gone.
Is he in a hole?
Yes.
In the Other House?
Yes.
In a hole in the Other House?
Yes. He lives there.
With Other Mommy?
No. He’s in another hole.
A different hole.
Yes.
Different from Mommy’s.
Yes.
Can he talk to her?
No.
Can he talk to us?
Yes.
What will he tell us?
It’s time to go to sleep.
(pause)
Okay.
(pause)
Are you sleepin?
No.
(pause)
Is it time to go to sleep?
Yes.
I’m going to sleep now.
(pause)
Okay?
(pause)
Are you sleepin?
No.

13 comments:

ArtSparker said...

Kind of like a liturgy.

Clowncar said...

nice choice of word there, art. admittedly, much of the repetition was added by me, trying to create a rhythm in the dialogue.

Hilary said...

You and your wife had to be torn between continuing to listen and longing to go to their room to hug them..

Shayna Prentice said...

Extremely dear and tender.

slommler said...

Oh how precious is that! Two little minds sharing their hearts and fears. Sweet and sad all at the same time.
Thank you for giving me a glimpse.
Hugs
SueAnn

Laurita said...

This is sweet and heartbreaking all at once. I definitely think it is a poem.

Cloudia said...

A song cycle of song A


Aloha from Hawaii


Comfort Spiral

Fresca said...

When I read your archives (!) this piece stood out.

Say, I just found this blog by British writer Ian Wood (any relation?) who sorta reminds me of you:

http://www.writebastard.com

Especially enjoyed his May 13 post, "We happy few, we band of buggered" about Why We/I Write (a subject of endless interest to me).

Clowncar said...

Yes, Hilary, we did. But that is, to borrow my phrase from a previous post, their "secret garden." Wouldn't be right for us to enter.

Thanks, Shayna. Sad too. It's mythology.

SA, you are welcome for the glimpse. Though now that I read it again it feels a little like voyeurism.

Laurita, I suppose it is a poem, though it's kinda formless, kinda artless.

Cloudia - nicely put. It's certain to become one of the central melodies they will weave harmonies around.

Fresca, I like Ian Wood's writing about writing. I write more about writing than I think I do. Though as this latest novel sinks unpublished like a very small stone into a very large lake, that may change. You catch me at a low ebb in terms of confidence. It'll turn. It always does.

Artog said...

Hello,

That is brilliant. I hope you won't be offended if I say it spooked me a little. The innocence of children is sometimes so eerie.

I found you via Artsparker (who doesn't know I look at her pictures).

Clowncar said...

Thank you for saying such nicethings, Artog, and for stopping by as well. Not offended - I found it spooky as well, Perhaps spookier, as I have a more personal connection to the material.

AS might know you look at her pictures now...

Emma J said...

Haunting. I'm glad you kept their secret garden safe. And I too feel like a voyeur, as if trespassing a boundary by overhearing. Which is one of the ambiguous delights of being the Reader.

Clowncar said...

Thank you Emma. It is, as a parent, less ambiguous, with less delight involved.