Noah and the catkins
I was sickening for psychosis, more than sickening and you were less than two, just starting to talk and I made a game for you as we walked the woodland path, putting all the catkins into houses under leaves. You tottered about, repeating ’pillar, home. Sometimes that is all any of us need, a place to be our home. You took all of your babies and laid them to sleep. I used to invent innocent games for you and when I was ill and I knew I wasn’t thinking straight I begged my mother to hold you, to keep you safe, like her arms were my arms loving you. I knew I shouldn’t hold you. I knew.
I was still small, clutching two hot-water bottles like balloons, pain radiating into my shoulders in purple spokes and nervy polygons. They called it a water infection; I thought of the sea. Plucked sounds tremored deep in the piano that no one had touched. I couldn’t understand how the back of my neck hurt. You will when you grow up, said my mother, mumbling something about pleasure I couldn’t understand.