The Straight Of It
It might’ve been 1952. Or 3. It was certainly summer. I remember wearing cotton shorts and a sleeveless top. It’s hot. The sun stings my arms. I’m barefoot, walking on a narrow brick path that always feels cool and slightly wet against my toes. It leads from the back door down three levelled grassy terraces to the dirt road where every car that passes disappears behind a curtain of dust. Our house is on top of a steep slope; we look down on the other houses, toward the lake. Mum’s pushing the lawnmower across the grass. Up and down and back and forth. It leaves square patches of varied naps, like quilted green. Deep. Light. Bright. Mum stops near the veg garden, empties the grass clippings on top of Dad’s beetroot plants. He eats them raw, and they turn his pee pink. She looks up the slope, admires her afternoon’s work. The lines have to be straight. They have to. Sometimes she starts all over, mowing quilt-ish squares. They have to be straight. Like the placemats on the table. Paintings on the wall. Magazines on the coffee table. Everything lined up. Straight. Don’t slouch, standup straight, she tells me.
It’s golden light is
sun’s fevered grass and arsenic.
It bites like ginger.
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