Said goodbye and went to bed to die;
never knew that they had lied – was
quite surprised they didn’t seem to care.
Agonised, refused to cry although in
time the tears were quietly shed.
When I awoke and found my sight,
listened to the sound of night’s
retreat, got to my feet and went to
greet the day my Mother calmly said,
Oh, you didn’t die!
When sleep had kindly calmed my
quaking heart and evening’s panic fled,
I slept a deep and peaceful sleep, mindless
of my peers deceit, guileless in my tiny bed;
then I remembered what she’d asked. Didn’t
die! Hadn’t had to say goodbye or suffer
from my sister’s lies, didn’t meet with my
demise, indeed alive and well, my lungs
were whole, I breathed with ease throughout
the night, the rubber which would blight my
breath and kill the tissues dead when lodged
within the fatal spot had not.
So what had caused my fear? The night
before we’d had some fun with dead
balloons; you stretched a piece across
your mouth and sucked until a cherry
bomb emerged within your tongue,
twisted off to seal the air compressed
in there so tight, popped them with your
teeth, pinched ‘tween fingers ‘til they
burst, or tritely offered each in sacrifice.
Suffice to say a bomb went off just as I
breathed. My sister said with grave concern
(though now I know in jest) It’s not a joke, if
rubber meets your lungs inside you’ll die.
Naïvely I believed, trusting to a fault my
sweetest sibling’s word. And thus was I
prepared to die. In retrospect I thought
about the claimed effect, my knowledge
of anatomy was rather bare although it
seemed there were a few anomalies.
Connected these, sadly noting that
indeed I had been well and truly had.
© 4 July 2006, I.D. Carswell