Friday, January 25, 2008

Homage to Hemingway

Hemingway is credited with writing the shortest short story ever, "For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn." Every time I read, hear that, I get a chill. Chill? Oh, tell the truth. You don't get a chill, you are ruptured, torn. Your guts are pulled out, displayed, stabbed over and over and over with a dull, jagged knife. No quick clean cut, too simple. This is fluttery edges that never realign, never heal. They keloid, ugly scars like bloated leaches.

Tell the truth for once about how you feel. Me? Tell the truth? You talking to me? The great liar, the greatest liar denier crier ever born? The truth. Huh. What an alien concept. Truthful Robyn, oxymoron.


But I don't have to. It's all written down and out in my own illegible cursed cursive that even I find hard to read at times. Especially when the paper is wrinkled, a testament to tears, to what is missing. Here's to you, tears! To you tears. Here's to u-tear-us. Here's to a uterus with scarred walls, too many ridges for a placenta to attach. Here's to a uterus that shakes free whatever it decides has no place within. Here's to you.

You tear us limb from limb and push us out bit by bit, drip drip drip. Days and night, drip drip drip, slow seepage of blood and amniotic fluid as you proceed on your sickening, funereal mission, slowly expelling your dead, one scoop at a time.

Hand me a shovel, let me bury it once and for all. Rapid shoveling, no more of these individual scoops. Weeks, or does it just feel like weeks, until the blessed doctors, oh blessed 100, 99, 98, 97, 96 going under, that sweetness, until they finish the job.

Can't even finish expelling your own dead, you useless u-tear-us. A vestigial organ, a void, no point to having you if you can't do what you are meant to do. 95, 94, 93 and under. Let it be over, let it be over once and for all.

It is written.




And Lafite. Grenoble. Clover. All here, the empty books. The oh-so-empty books.

"For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn." Six words.

"Freecycle: Pregnancy diaries. 3/4 empty." Five words.


Anonymous said...

What does the title have to do with the body? I don't get it.

winged unicorn said...

those readers who've made my actual acquaintance know how i feel about most of hemingway's work: unreadable, confusing, flat. HOWEVER, sometimes the man HIT! he could be brilliant in his conciseness. the title comes from the inspiration piece which opens and closes my essay, where i happened to go on my journey? ah well. also, at least one of hemingway's wives had a nasty miscarrriage and he examines miscarriage/abortion in "Hills Like White Elephants." finally, you don't HAVE to get it. although i am surprised that you don't.
"The original short short story. In the 1920s, Hemingway bet his colleagues $10 that he could write a complete story in just six words. They paid up. His story: "For sale: Baby shoes, Never worn."