Neogenesis

Mom smiles at me and I, wrapped in a warm blue fire that emanates from her, already know what she’s about to say.

“Go on Yoel, sweetheart, blow out the candles and make a wish.”

My father is sitting beside her at the other side of the table.  He pretends to smile and thinks about god knows what.  I see him, worrying.  And his bursts of euphoric participation in my party are drowning in prolonged absences which slip into my mom’s eyes any time they can.

“Come on, Yoel, blow out the candles” mom drones on.

I am sitting in front of them, with my six little candles before me.  I have overgrown this cake, but no one wants to see that.

The outline of my parents remains floating in the air, as if they were little figures in a children’s book, while I take out my tobacco and roll a cigarette.  My father and my mother are smaller than me, huddled on these two chairs.  They don’t have ears, but festering holes from which caked blood emerges.

It must have been the bomb, I conclude, lighting my cigarette.

I am almost thirty years older than that day when we celebrated my sixth birthday, in the enchanted garden of our house in Mumbai.  While my mom keeps moving about, and repeating obsessively “Come on, Yoel, blow out the candles” I know that in two days my parents will be blown up with three more people, at the market.  And I would like to be the one killing them, from here, to blow away their shattered lives, which in a moment would burden the air invade life break time bury the skin.

Simone Battig

Neogenesis

Barbera Editore, 2006

copyright © Simone Battig, 2010
Translation: Francesca Gola