The Unfinished Crossword

by Suzan Abrams

And so she died, the blight of a crossword still unfinished upon her tender shoulder. Someone had mixed her body parts up all wrong; fancy knotting ankles to joints and pencilling lips to shin like a madwoman high on drink. But her legs had gone missing again …running ahead to search the galaxies for uncovered destinies warehoused in time. Why, just this minute, she’ll have you know, her toes were having the time of their life skating along the Milky way.  And to think, how muddied too, their varnish.

Still, her heaving breath would not wait; retirement had set its designer death knell upon her pool of sweat. It bade its time; cut closely to the fringes of her heart. Her soul would demand that renewal be tailored for ressurection from the same cloth. But her blood had ceased to watch its colour and so she curled herself into a hedgehog ball, begging tearfully, a last hour for a schoolroom playtime romp. Now, her final fit of rage was apparent and unyielding. She would take revenge with a memorable toddler tantrum and refuse to stretch for the last rites. She would snub God, just wait for it, and challenge him to a duel. Now, if that wasn’t a fine way to go.

It was on this strange hard bed, from where the dark wood groaned at her heaviness and shuddered at her coldness, that she dreamt of possibilities. From where her wrinkles at last changed into harmless creases like baby skin and from where she would float, the beguiled dancer on carpeted air… a once industrious damsel bereft of light and now on a  rocketed flight. She would never be pointed at up in the night sky. Never be described as a star.  Not when she bounced up high, a winged balloon, mocked by gravity and ready for take-off. Instead, she would be remembered for knots and crosses and scolding always…  “Never you mind and don’t forget to mark the spaces.”


(This picture is a free piece of Pre-Raphelite clip art.)

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