Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mingus Dreamed he had a Sister

I remember dim forms shifting, pressing their weight into me, bad morning breath hotter than the blankets we'd rolled ourselves into, her kicks in the night and the bite marks on my ears upon waking; did I dream her?

My sister, calico, mewling, with pointed chin and white spot beside her nose, eyes bright promise.

I've been reading the novel Beloved, by Toni Morrison; the book breathes to life my ghost-sister, half-remembered, maybe-only-dreampt sister.

This year I'm eight years old. Old for a cat, young for a living thing. Eight years tumbling into sinks and back out, lapping the water from its sides. Dreaming sisters.

Imagine sinkfuls. Their cat-weight heavying me. Whiskers prickling my face.

A whirling, somersaulting all-of-us, many-limbed crouching, jumping, sleeping, rocking against each other, our hearts pitched to wild music; blood rising, humming us frenzied the joy, oh the joy, of us many loved.

Maybe I made her up. Made them up. Maybe I read too many ghost stories. In Beloved, the dead daughter maybe comes back, is maybe resurrected as flesh-and-blood daughter. Depends how you read it.

I read it that way. Sethe's catharsis (Sethe is the mother) is so much more powerful, I think, with the reality of the supernatural. And why not? Why hand wring and look for holes in the ghost, holes in the story?

Why doubt my memory of her, litter-mate, and of how she was taken, human hand reaching for us, scooping her up, away, and traitor-sister not knowing, maybe, what she did, purring, purring into that hand. Adjusting her kitten's body to be close, closer to that-which-she-did-not-understand.

A dream, a memory, both? Why do I torment myself with imagined loss? Isn't there enough loss already?

Loss of health (this abominable t-shirt won't allow me to forget my trespasses, septic wound, that too-quick raccoon/possum/feral cat/sharp branch that cut that stung that caught that turned that hurt me), self, loss of hope, of ambition, of of of of.

And so turning to dreamsofher. I know I dream colors; I see her calico, her pointed chin, white spot by her nose, the orange of her belly matching mine exactly. Sister-salve that burns ever more bitter for its ambiguity. No mother here to ask. No records to look up, hospital to call; me, feline, eight of years and growing older each slow taste of water, tongue like to be lolling, eyes sinister or full of sleep or devoid of both; me dreaming sister dreaming me dreaming family - sardines salted and frying on the stove, the hissing of oil as it heats.

I use the bones to pick my teeth   run my eyes down the   well   of whatever it was I woke   wanting   this  wet place  my own pound   of flesh  heart a beaten thing  grasps  regardless of how I chew and I chew and I chew         once in the middle       of the night     she lept from     sleep into my      arms and I     held   her weight   with a l l    I was

down to the bone        flesh sliced       smell of that-which-I-can't-name     the horror of the sound of that purring     the horror of the sound of that purring      maybe     it was me     who lept     from      sleep     who    lept

into    stranger's human    hands     to be     pulled     and      pulled from       bodies    nestled      purring    who lept    m e     who     snuggled     kitten-innocent             into alien

unfamiliar      and who     lept    and     if     I  have    no             sister     andifihavenosister      and if i   no   sister   ever    had

maybe it was me

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