Sunday, 27 June 2021

'My Thursday Morning Walk, One Week Later' by Emma Louise Gill

Pushing the pram along grey pavement speckled with old black gum and dull crisp packets, I pass beige houses with skeletal ash trees where wind has shaken all life from their limbs, crowding each other, nodding over neighbours, gossiping with rattling boughs on gravel driveways, curtains twitching but it’s just a cat, greedy eyes watching me from its judging windowpane as I bump, bump, bump over root-wracked cracks and my arms tense on the worn handlegrip, pushing me forward, trainers leaving muddy tracks when a kid riding on his bike—who should be in school, what’s he doing, don’t his parents know—barely misses me and I flinch, gasp, then cough at smoky air inhaled and I panic that this time I’ll pass out, did I take my medicines or forget with the alarm call and the fog and the cold of the icy morning, its daggers gnashing at my lungs, telling me I should stay home I’m supposed to stay home but I didn’t, I won’t, I walk with the pram and the ravens cawing harsh comment at my frozen face buried in mum’s stringy scarf, pushing past the cemetery and the closed shop and the empty field where cows used to low at me but now they’ve gone, moved on like the world, and down to the brown slow river where someone left a washing machine, its open maw swallowing water forever without getting anywhere but rust, and a couch for the fishes who can barely breathe, and my empty pram screaming at me as I push it in.

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