Porcelain Animals

I’d named my porcelain animals.  Tree names.  Mangrove, Willow, Oak, Cherryblossom, Eucalypt, Birch.  Horse, cat, owl, rabbit, giraffe, robin.  I love the names of trees… they’re like poetry.  Or a song, even.  Yes, definitely a song.  How can I show you?

I would sing to my porcelain animals as I skipped to school in my red stockings, imagining they were skipping with me.  “Mangrove, Willow, Oak, Cherryblossom, Eucalypt, Oak…” over and over with the colours dancing in my head, the tastes and textures each word conjured.  My magic words, my tree animals.

It is difficult to remember a childhood you never had, which is why some lying is difficult.  It is also sometimes difficult to remember a childhood you did have.  I don’t know whether it’s harder to recall something you subconsciously don’t want to, or at the time didn’t want the future you to remember.  In any case, I never can recall much of classes, nor of piano lessons, nor of my parents at home.  My father had kind hands, but cold eyes.  I remember how his beard felt, but not what colour it was.  My mother was sweet and smiling, smelt of flour, flowers, and biscuits.  She wore her hair in a bun.  He wore black gumboots.  They were not cruel to me, nor did they fight.  But I remember them better when we weren’t at home… the business-voice my father used when speaking to his peers, the twinkling in mama’s eye when she watched me playing with other children in the play-park near the school.  The hard, bitter lollies he bought me at the store.  The apricots she and I picked as we walked, their fine fur and sweetness inside.

But it was my Nana that gave me the porcelain animals.

I hardly remember Nana at all, but that’s only because she was magic.  She believed memory was wasteful.  Why think when we can feel? So she magicked away my memories of her, and died young enough to not become decrepit, which she told me should be a joyful occasion.  I smiled sweetly at her funeral, and disturbed the priest.  He gave me a small stone crucifix to have as my own, but when no one was looking, I left it on Nana’s grave.  I knew she’d like it; it was such a nice stone, cool, grey, smooth.

Corrections are made and redone as we grow older but they never erased my tree animals, my porcelain magic.  Mangrove, Willow, Oak, Cherryblossom, Eucalypt, Birch.

April ’06


1 Response to “Porcelain Animals”

  1. 1 Cupideros November 8, 2010 at 11:21 am

    2006 was a good year for you pizza. 🙂
    This story had real class and depth and humor.



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This blog is the collection of my poetry and prose, in chronological order from most recent to oldest.

Constructive critique is actively encouraged!

I am usually singing words as well as writing them, and make lots of other art. You can find me & my other art at any of the below links. x

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