... a ruby bead dried above his upper lip. Saturn was burning, tilted between Leo and Cancer, the rings would appear edge on by 2009, as they did fifteen years ago. You could see it setting in the evening skies. If you knew where to look. The hexagonal clouds at the north pole have no explanation. As with so much else. They were red too, the heavy crimson of velvet drapes, like those in his grandparent's house. Not a memory, a supposition: their house felt that way. Where a midget spoke cryptically, backwards, perhaps. Why was he dreaming of his mother? Two times this week. Once she held his hand and talked about her fear of dying, seven years after the act. If dying can be said to be an act. Then, the other night, falling in the foyer of the theatre, dexterously managing to spill hardly any of the glass of white wine she'd just refilled. Sinisterly, was that a word? Spellcheck says yes. The shame in her eyes, the drunkard's veiled plea for excuse of the inexcusable. He'd never seen her drunk, or not falling down drunk. Happy, yes. Excited. He'd asked his sister to look after her. Why not himself? Because he never really had, or not in later years. It wasn't his mother's parent's house, he retained no memory of that, it was his father's. In Hamilton. And it was his father who was the drunk, who sometimes stumbled and fell. Whom he always tried to raise up again. The blood was from a shaving cut, welling strangely away from where the sharp slant of pain was. In the yellowy late afternoon light, as currawongs whistled operatically and rain began to fall, he put his finger to the spot. The wound, the tear, the entrance or exit place of spirits. While Saturn burned, and his mother continued to die, blood flowed ...

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