augury doggerel

Monday, August 25, 2003


I had a fever this weekend. My lungs bubbled. Sometimes I shivered and sometimes my flannel pajamas soaked through with sweat. No one else was home all weekend and the curtains were closed. It was dark and quiet and I had plenty of time to think, if I'd been able to think.

I tried to remember being a baby, but all I know about baby me is what I've been told. Only hearsay. One witness is dead and the other doesn't remember that baby at all now. But these things sound likely.

One thing they told me was that my word for cow was 'tee-too'. Maybe I heard 'tee-too' when someone said 'see the coo', which is just what Scottish parents would say to a baby if a cow appeared. And I'm sure cows appeared. Baby books are full of cows. We didn't live far from real cows. I would have seen cows and heard 'see the coo'. And somehow, maybe just once, I got the word wrong and said 'tee-too' and never heard the end of it.

The other thing they told me is that I once had to have my stomach pumped. I found a bucketful of nappies soaking in bleach. When my mother came in, I was sucking the bleach from a nappy. I doubt I swallowed enough to bother about, but she whipped me off to the hospital. She said I was bright, bright red. Red and screaming. It was the stomach pump that bothered me, not the bleach.

And that's it. Likely things, but not enough to hang a story on.


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