17 September 2008

Alysha Wood

[excerpt from Alysha Wood's "how to peel in seven lessons" from TinFish 18, TinFish Press, 2008]

Lesson ๔


Gaw kept. Gaw kept containing. Gaw kept containers to reuse. Once something was empty she rinsed it out and saved it to hold something else. This was a kind of security. A kind of pack-rat-ness. A kind of hoarding. A kind of preparation. These small bits of condensing. Reusing. Small woven places.


It was her habit to pour her child into old containers. Old tin cans of soybeans. Plastic bowls. She poured her child into such and such a container until it became obvious that the child would not fit. She would add this sweet into another, larger container and go on with her kitchen. Stow her in a box or in a pantry for later use. She might forget, and there when she opened the door would be her daughter, spilled about the ledges, busting open in the lip, neck cramped up all in corners.

Gaw liked things of her own tidy. She swept with one broom, cut with one knife, scrubbed with one towel. The shelves were cleaned, the mess poured into a glass jar. It was strange to Gaw that her daughter had accumulated more than before, that the sum of her parts no longer added up to 60 g, net weight 2.12 oz.


Gaw took careful pains to lose weight, to fill things up to the brim, to save space. This was about economy, and she had learned this when she crossed water all those eons ago. It was a question of what could be carried. She knew she could not take any thing with her and somehow this translated to saving space. To holding as little as possible at one time.

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