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Sandra Tappenden


3 pieces to be read while listening to ‘Innocent’ by Fläskkvartetten

The words

She could smell smoke, even at night. Especially then. The choke of words burning in a tin trunk in a summer garden. They`d been kept beneath a dozen different beds, interfering with hours, altering atmosphere, temperature. It was a funeral, with Mozart`s Requiem played on a portable player in the dark. The night was candled and warm. She regretted the cremation. Years of a life blackened to powder. The best of it was sparks flying upward, fragments edged red lifting in the small breeze, with all hope in their random fluttering. What was now singed and emptying into air released from the death of interpretation.  
But in truth there was no end to it. The girls kept both bad and good in their heads or their blood differently. Returning was pain, and they all returned in their own way, like spectral versions of themselves called to a séance.


The absence

She saw herself in hotels or rivers. She was on packed trains, the girls still on the platform.  Whatever made her heart different kept the body moving. Sometimes it was a puppet, or white statue with a person buried inside. The murdered child had been buried and she needed to confess. Her mother said even animals didn`t abandon their young but that will always be a lie. Her firstborn was in a transparent plastic cot, a single pink carnation at her head. Her breasts ached with uselessness.  There is no sense to be made of it. The exquisite body, the fading scent of new skin.
Her father tucked her into bed, wound up the mechanical tail of a musical poodle. The Blue Danube Waltz, flowing waters, sent her to sleep every night until the toy broke. Her mother was a lap of rose printed cotton which couldn`t hold.


Tell me about when you were young

I`ve been reading Lawrence. It jangles and sticks. He was onto something it hurts to read. The drive, to fix what cannot be. I recognise unbridgeable gulfs.  Both inner and outer. The girls don`t know anything although I`ve tried. In my dream will I leave all my notebooks to the eldest but think this is cruelty. The cruelty of m/otherhood which will not be explained except by the passage of time. Even then, they won`t, can`t know me. What was the deity thinking when time was invented? Time, according to Jan, is God, but Jan is dead and I`m still here trying to figure.
They want facts, dates, a life-line that holds them in space. It`s not what they need. I believe I know but am unable to impart it in a linear fashion; that would disrespect the women they are. Narrative is impossible for me now.





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