I always arrive late for everything.
Stuck in a traffic jam by the docks,
missed Noah’s boat but
survived under water
accidentally trapped between stolen books,
trapped by a word heavier than a stone,
lighter than a feather.
Hidden in the overcrowded wooden train carriage,
radicalised by the anonymity of my blue name-tag,
with a heart growing outside my body.
Each beat painfully visible to the guards
around the Monopoly table.
On the waiting list for ballet lessons,
radicalised by the price of uranium bullets on Mother’s Day
handwriting an apologetic note.
My deep eye silenced.
The familiar solemnity of a world without a face.
The winter Clara and I secretly discovered socialism
we had nothing left in the house
that was worth burning.
The frost surrounded the bedroom,
we talked to keep warm
and I suggested to write on the walls.
We used the kitchen knife to sharpen crayons
and kept at it for a couple of hours.
‘All western countries, enemies of the people!
Kill the foreigners!
Kill Ronald Reagan!’
I thought Ro-nald was such a bad name
for a man who never wrote children books,
probably he deserved to die.
My spelling was not very good at that age,
so the room filled with rainbows instead.
Clara and I laughed.
At that point, we felt hungry and I remembered
mother kept the bible covered with cloth
on top of the fridge
so I lifted the shiny red cover, sliced it in very small pieces
and added water and salt.
The feast carried on for a bit.
Clara and I chewed with determination several chapters.
We almost got half way through
when I read: ‘Then there shall be a time of trouble …for
every one that shall be found written in the book.’
And then, in the middle of our small apartment,
the game stopped.
I went back to the wall
and changed the words around.
‘Ro-land, orphan but free’.
Photograph: @John Stadnicki, ‘Piazza’, 2016