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Number 19


Growing frail is an old folk story that begins with a walking stick with a handle shaped like the head of a lion.  It slowly progresses to the forgetting of the names of the people in the story. Growing frail, ends with a fire in the middle of the hut that refuses to give up on kindling the spark back into the room. 

My Grandmother is growing frail.

When I see her, it is like I am seeing a new born child and the greatest women alive all at the same time. When many winters have gone by,  I find the remains of her happiest memories buried between her wrinkled skin. 

Her scent is not of old people and how they are dying.  She smells like the soil after it has just rained,  like pumpkin seed toasting in the sun,  like wet wood and sometimes milk boiling in the tea pot getting ready for that early morning cup. Growling frail is the topography of Eden,  is a row of a thousand gumtrees.  Is a forest of ever green and sometimes quiet and misty.  Her chest is a nest for an energy that is as willing as the ocean.  Such effortless breathing.

I wonder when it was that  she realised that her body would not be hers alone to keep,  that she would have to share it with many other energies that would make a habitat of her hair,of  her heels, of her mouth, of her hands and of her womb. How she trusted that the experience of such nudity would be cathartic and better yet beautiful.

Her skeleton is of the Moravian Mission.  Stands tall and historic along the Tina river.  The choir sings and her lungs fill up with the vibration of hymn 22.  She breathes and the entire congregation floats up to the ceiling,  a recheche of our feet defying gravity,  we ‘re all up in the air.  She fills the entire church with her spirit then breathes it back into her bones.  Marrow that is enchanted by the holy ghost.  My grand mother is godly,  and golden and grand.

For an entire century,  her eyes have been the glorified rose Windows to my soul.  The source of my undying desire to co-exsit in different realms. I want her to know that her body is not all tired,  most days it just wants to be beautiful.  And I know it can be because she has seen it through eyes that don’t blurr and break as easily. Sometimes they would see furniture pieces in their past lives and rearrange living rooms into the way that just felt right,  and real and sit and rest ready.

Grandmother,  I want to ask you to take a walk with me down to the gum tree where beneath it is the log your lover used to day dream on but I know that even that will be too much to ask of your fragile mission.  It will excuse itself as cracking walls,  as sunken ceilings,  and as doors that will say broken,  and say shaky,  and say Stay.  The only syllable your temple is humming is “stay”. 

Grand mother,  today you are resting in an old age home in East London.  Your body is forgetting what it feels like to be in control of things,  joints have a new default mode they say ” stay” with every crack of a bone.

Grand mother,  I often wonder if you ever miss your lover,  how your body used to offer to him all the energies it inhabited.  Perhaps growing frail is the aftermath of your soul realising he has not been around for a while now.  Perhaps it is your body remembering the scent,  and the sound nd the taste of him. Growing frail is mumbling love poems to your soul mate under your breath and then talking about the weather when asked to speak louder because, such moments are still sacred even when he is no longer here in his physical body.  Growing frail is your body smiling like that.  Like it has always just been smiling.

You are how i want to age, if beauty is life then Grandmother, you are It. All of it.

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