- Vol. 01
- Chapter 05
What the sheep thinks of the skyWhat does the sheep think of the sky? Wrap the disc of soap in the washer. Draw it slow across the flesh, up the arm, across the belly. Flesh of the living becomes flesh of the dead. What does one wear to one's death? Open the cupboard, doorknob squealing. Finger through coathangers, coats and throwovers and dresses. Pull a skirt out to see, image it around the legs, hang the hanger back and look for death-clothes again. The water hot brings out the soap's smell soft and light. That day on the corner the boys threw eggs. Egg in the hair and ran home. Egg on face means a smile now. Water down back down legs.
What does one wear when death comes? She was dressed for death, they will say, dressed for it so it came. She dressed to welcome it, they will say, as they dab their noses. Soaping in the crevices, washer on the skin. Tongue to teeth, teeth to jaw. A sensation in the jaw, a pang not a pain. A communication; the mouth a cave in the earth. But holes in the teeth, that's living. Coming old now, avoid the mirror. Don't see, don't see. Soap the neck, soap behind the earlobes. Blue earth a network of cavities - I know the ridge that is the earth's collarbone.
Soap drops; pick it up to re-wrap it, as if a child's game. Soap behind old hard knees. Moisturise. Moisture dries so moisturise. Wash behind the ankle, between the toes. Now between the legs. Horseback between the legs, alive. Horse body breathing, black eye knowing, quiet, trained to behave like a shy schoolboy. Left to wonder if there is wisdom there, intelligence, or no?
What the sheep thinks of the sky
The body is broken down by the earth but when does the first plant grow from it - months? Years? The first root striking through, weeds from the eye socket. The body like a ruin of Ancient Rome. Etching of the body as ruin; aristocrats with parasols stand around it, shoes muddy but no matter. They laugh at the age of this thing, so old that plants grow from it. One of them picks off a flower and holds it to her nose.
Turn the hot up, become clean for the day to have the clean taken. Run home to clean again like a girl with egg in her hair, plait flailing across the shoulders. Wring out the hair like a wet rag. Is the sheep pleased when the day arrives or is day simply, for it, the night turning itself inside out? Water off, silence in the steam but for gurgling. Pull the towel from the rack. Face in the towel to face the day. The scent of linen cupboards, of long dead grandmothers. Long nosed grandmothers long dead. Ancient sculptures seen in XXXXXX with what's his name, all noseless like sphinx. Death is the place where noses go. Towel the legs towel the thighs towel the heart.