Saturday, 16 July 2016
I AM MY HOUSE
I had a dream, or something, that woke me up last night.
I was hovering above a small family. They were walking home. They had bundles of bedding with them as though they'd been forced out but now they were coming home. I watched them round the corner to their street and it was gone. Bombed. I saw the man and boys stop in their tracks, just looking, and I heard her, the mother, begin to keen and wail and I felt a wrenching in my gut.
They say that when women give birth, there comes a moment when we feel connected to all other women who ever have, or ever will, go through that experience. I felt her pain in the same way, the universal depth to which we feel ourselves and our homes to be one. I knew that she felt - that I would feel - that to lose one's home is to be destroyed.
We can analyse that, say whether it is right or wrong, whether a woman is or should be more than what she does for her family but let's not. Let's just acknowledge what is.
I wrote the piece below because of that dream. Or whatever it was.
I am my house.
I am my stove and the dishes in my sink.
I am what's for supper and breakfast and lunch
for as long as I have someone to feed.
For as long as I have someone to feed, I am.
I am my child's loose tooth.
I am my husband's desire.
I am the water jug that needs filling,
I am the water jug full.
I am their laughter
their troubled sleep soothed
I am theirs.
They are mine.
I am the mouse in the laundry room
and the sun on the sheets and the fragrance of fresh bread
and the sweet fruits I have planted.
I am also me.
I am also mystery.
I am hatred and anger.
Behind the door of my heart
in the hallway
hangs a shotgun
and it's loaded.
Don't tell me that I am 'more'
when this is what I tell you I am.
I AM my house and my kid's loose tooth and my husband's desire.
I AM the dishes in the sink.
These are not petty things,
These are more than you could know, they are everything.
I will guard my dishes to my death.