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Bloom – Cathy Donelan

Heat spreads over your body, eyelids burn blood-orange as you rest your face to the heavens. The hedge rustles to itself and whispers idle tales in the breeze. Some reach you, others catch on the edges of nettles, forever lost to the dock leaf. You long for a fresh gust, a touch of cold to take the salt from your lips. It brings on dreams of Salthill and the sea, caught in a low tide, bringing sweet relief. He feels it too. He turns in discomfort and spreads under your navel. His form developing in bulges and sharp aches, longing to be free of his mother’s cast.

Every inch of your skin swells with his weight, one that’s been ripened through the seasons. You’ve marked his growth in cloud formations. The sparse grey spread of a winter cloud that has bloomed and rounded out under the cotton of your summer dress. Every knuckle graze as he turns feels deeply earned. You knead the soil underneath as he nudges organs within, taking your breath for himself. He moves like the ivy that creeps outside your home, taking over with every growth. Just there, among the weeds, you find a rare pale daffodil to add to his room.

You want him out too. You crave to feel his warmth, his scent on you. To settle his small form in the straw bassinet that’s haunted the spare room for too long. It outlived fragile moments of life, scarlet stains on your sheets. You’ve earned every ache and night sweat. This house is ready for his cry.

The hallway waits for your nightly pace, to describe every memory held in picture frames. Talk him through the artwork, he stays still when you tell him of Paul Henry’s Watcher, your voice describes the essence of colour in the woman’s world. He’ll be restless otherwise. You always comply, fulfilling rituals to ease you both to sleep. You plant roots for him within these walls. You hope he remembers.

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