Shannon Beynon is a creative soul who has been messing around with words forever. She has an insatiable thirst for colour, sparkles and clever conversation.
My baby girl was born (thirteen months ago)last week.
She was utterly perfect. Big, bonny, beautiful.
When they (tore)lifted her from my womb, she was all (blue)pink and (silent)howled like a banshee.
My husband cried when they told us she was a girl.
After she was born we gave her her (only)first bath and she (did nothing)cried when we accidentally got water in her eyes.
She was so heavy, so full of (death)life, like she had the weight of all her years already held inside her.
So many family members came to greet her, to say (goodbye)welcome to the world. My room was full of flowers, the smell of spring (in autumn)come early.
When we took her (to the morgue)home, our hearts almost burst. It was raining, a soft, steady drizzle that coated the world in (grey)sparkles and (sadness)joy.
My husband drove so slowly as I (held her)sat next to her in the back seat.
When we put her in her beautiful wicker crib, she (looked like she)slept. I couldn’t help but sneak out of bed, that first night, and sit next to her, locking her little face, perfect (black)lips, button nose into my memory.
I held her all through the next day. Wouldn’t let anyone else near her. My feet were still swollen from the epidural, so I had to sit with them up, and my baby girl lay on my lap, all swaddled and (so cold)warm.
So many people came to visit, and they all cried, every one. So much (sadness)joy in our little home. Too much for one small family to hold to itself.
We put her in (just one)all of the beautiful handknitted jerseys and booties my Mum and I had made for her. She looked beautiful. I liked the cream, lacey four-ply on her best, over top of the thick cotton sleep sack Mum had made and hand embroidered.
The day we (farewelled)christened her, she looked like an angel. The leaves in the trees of the back yard (tumbled)burst into life, and the sky hummed with a perfect rainbow.
He twitches as the steam rises, the daddy longlegs in the corner above my shower. For weeks now, I have been meaning to get the broom from the laundry and swipe him away. But each time I step under the running water, the door clacking shut behind me, I glance up and remember it anew.
His long front feet stab gently at the air and he stutters the 1.62metres to the other corner. I measured it when I put the tiles up, their beautiful blue shimmer now dulled by steam, grout yellowed by time.
Kyle had been bewitched by those tiles, had wrapped the mat around his arm like a gauntlet, become a new superhero bouncing gamma rays back into space. His hair had been that perfect shade of sunset then, a soft peach halo around his head.
My resident pholcidae drops a short distance – or does he jump? Because his up is my down, the small square of my white ceiling his solid ground. Gravity means nothing to this creature that weighs no more than the dandelion pods Kyle would breathe into the sky, watching them fly, taking his wishes with them. Does he wish he could sweep me away from his sky?
The soap in my hair runs down my back, my fingers reach to him as they reached for my son; not reaching, not enough.
I turn my face to the stream and the imposter who belongs tucks tight into his corner, this Daddy who may, in fact, not be a boy at all.
The broom will stay in the laundry. My son will stay in his grave. I will rinse myself clean.
A mother sleeps
A mother sleeps, rain in her ears.
In her dreams she is on the shore and the mighty Tasman crashes onto the land of her ancestors. Do you remember? she asks him, and her grief is a rock tied to his ankles dragging him deeper into the grey.
Her milk sours in her breast, poison seeping into her heart as the sky explodes. He searches desperately for the pills to fight the infection, overturning glasses that weep the dregs of their sorrow onto the rug her mother hooked from worn tee shirts. She curls into herself, an echo of the love they lost, and he reaches for her across acres of cold blankets as the world thunders and water boils onto tin above him.
I remember, he calls, but she doesn’t hear, the cacophony of her loss too loud, drowning everything but the cold, still core of her emptiness. I remember, he cries, but his eyes are dry.
A mother turns, her hand falling over her belly. Fingers rest on a tattoo that weaves the scar of her daughter’s birth into a trail of fallen leaves, autumn’s gold blending with her thick red curls. In her dreams, crystal smashes as the needle stitches, scratches; men pulling, prodding, poking, stabbing, taking from her, giving back. She melts into the whiskey of his eyes as he turns away, too long without her. The ice belies the mellow heat of yearning that burns low and distant.
She searches for him in shrouded streets, clouded sheets, sharp stones underfoot now small elbows under skin, poking, prodding, thrumming with life.
Come back, she calls, but the clock has turned and the lie has flown. Come home, she murmurs into a pillow that is cold on a bed that is empty.
A mother wakes, rain in her tears.