grey water

grey sky

and a distant grey sun

the horizon

a dark line

with a bright, pale band above it

my house

churns through the water

almost flies above it

like a powerboat

I reach the throttle

it's a lever

like the handbrake

in an old car

but with the opposite effect

my house takes off

like a jet plane

in fact

when I look out

my bedroom window

it's like looking through

the little, oval window

of a Boeing 747

soon my house

has turned into

a sleek and silver


that flies high above the water

I'm still flying toward the sun


through the atmosphere

through clouds

and out

into the twinkling darkness

of space

and I'm still

flying toward the sun

it's like

being on the flight deck

of a ship in Star Trek


I'm wearing a seatbelt

and feel quite safe

I can hear music

the voices of a thousand people


a song without words


like in an old bible movie

when someone enters heaven

I think

I must be in heaven

or at least a garden

where cherries grow

I pull them from trees

and stuff them into my mouth

and bite the juicy flesh

there are no pips in the cherries

deep pink wine

stains my mouth

and runs down my chin

I suddenly understand

the cherries need no pip

because the plants in this garden

live forever

and so don't need

to reproduce

their fruit is only there

for my pleasure


I hear a slithering sound

like a spider behind the

Madonna poster

on my bedroom wall


it's a beautiful lizard

its glittering head

peeps out from the cherries

its little eyes

shine like black diamonds

from its tiny mouth

bubbles out

a comic strip balloon

I read the words

that fill the balloon





then I realise

that I'm lonely

the lizard

seems braver now

half his body sits on the branch

of the cherry tree

though there's something

not quite right

about the lizard

it's only when I'm reading

the next balloon

that issues from his mouth

that I notice

he has no legs

he says






I think hard about this

I think of all my friends

I don't want one of them

to eat a cherry

that's one less for me

though maybe Danielle

could have just one

or Jacob

the more I think

about Jacob

the more I want him here

I open my mouth

to tell the lizard

but before the name 'Jacob'

comes out

here he is

standing before me

without a stitch of clothing on

looking surprised

a bit embarrassed

I say

--it's all right, Jacob

here, have one of these

and I pop a cherry in his mouth

straight away

he spits it out again

a look of disgust and surprise

on his pale face

he glares at me and says

--what did you do that for?

he asks

--and why am I here?

--because of the lizard

I say

--what lizard?

asks Jacob

--oh, he says

you mean the snake

I look at the cherry tree

it's glistening, coated

with sugary cobwebs

like fairy floss

a thick black snake twines

through the tree

that is now covered

with black cherries

that ooze something

like blood

the snake twists in the tree

like a dark tube of muscle

compressed evil

from the snake's mouth

hangs a little balloon

with the words




written in it

I feel sick

I don't want the cherries

inside me any more

I vomit

dark red mess all over

the grass

I heave and heave

I'm kneeling on the ground

vomiting my heart out

desperately afraid

then a voice says

--OK, OK

it's Jacob

he says

--stand up, Talitha

he takes me in his arms

he doesn't seem to mind

the vomit

splashed over my face

and my bare body

my lips

he takes me in his arms

and kisses me

suddenly I'm back

in my spaceship house

diving down through the clouds of Earth

when I break through

everything looks normal again

I can see a map

of North America

I zoom down towards

a prairie

grass is everywhere

far below I see a woman

riding a horse

she wears a red cape

which streams behind her

my spaceship house

turns into a balloon

a parachute

then there's just me

floating down

toward the prairie

it's then I realise


the woman on the horse

who rides so fast below


my mother