We were talking about you
we were doing impressions of cats
and I did an impression of you
as a cat
picking up the phone
in that voice you always use
when you pick up the phone
Do you know that you sound afraid
when you pick up?
I see your eyes like dinnerplates when you say hello that way.
I get the sensation that I ought to be doing something
like chores or something
like when you call me and my neck snaps straight [sloucher] like one of those fluorescent bands wee had on the playground
They were banned.
And I come running and say ‘yes!?’ in a hushed voice, respectful, quiet but nevertheless legible because you hate mumbling. It is always the end of the sentence that is lost. The home of the object. It doesn’t get swallowed, it simply hides behind something, like a cloud or a shadow or a mirror.
In any case, it takes a great deal of dedicated attention to reprogramme a mumbler. There is no point in pretending that it is easy to deal with a shy child, to get them to behave in the usual fashion. I never realised that you were scared because I was scared, and vice versa. Sometimes the world seems small, and then light shines onto a new realm; I thought I had it pegged. I did. I thought that was it, that I understood human behaviour, I was so sure… so strange.
I completely misunderstood. Everything.