Gentle hairsmell, special rosy skinsmell. Nose on cotton
bosom. One big arm under legs, one around back.
Going upstairs. ‘Time for ni-ni’s now.’ Pushing the high
white door. Walking across the blue floor.
There’s Teddy in the corner.
There’s pink blanket.
There’s the white bars.
laying me down; snugging Teddy in; lighting nightlight
with its funny moon; darking big light. ‘Ni-ni.’
putting shoes by the door. No
getting woolballs and needles. No
sitting in the rockety chair, rocking and clicking and humsinging
silly old songs —
‘Ssh. Ni-ni big girl.’
The door shuts. Click.
Shoe clunk clunk-clunk
I stand up, wobbling on the squishy bed, holding the bars.
‘Mum-mum!’ Come back! ‘Mum-mum!’ I’m not safe!
‘Mum-mum!’ Come back! ‘Mum-mum! Mum-mum!’ I love you!
The funny moon. The dark. The bars in my fists.
A wave breaks over me and I cry.
I cry — I cry — I cry — hurty-loud — scary-loud —
no mum-sound — no mum-shape — no mum-breath — no mum-smell —
I cry until I’m shaking
and hating all over
and all in pieces
and curled up tight
and my tears are dried up
and my throat hurts
and then I see.
I have to do this by myself.
I bite Teddy hard and suck his ear.
I dream of mum-scent and falling.
Next nighttime, after kisses, I don’t
say ‘mum-mum’. I suck Teddy’s ear. I bite his paw.
The funny moon. The dark. There are shapes in it. The bars
by my face. I shut my eyes. There are shapes in it.
The dark-time is a black space, far, far, I can’t see the end,
and without any songs, and I
have to go it
I don’t cry out.
I shut myself tight.
Go away. Go away.
Don’t touch me!
‘Good girl,’ she says.