Friday, December 6, 2013

Ethel Rohan Says: "Enough"

In the 46th in a series of posts on 2013 books entered for The Story Prize, Ethel Rohan, author of Goodnight Nobody (Queen's Ferry Press), seeks approval.


Today the clocks are talking, tick-tock, tick-tock. The wall clock in my office, wall clock in my kitchen. The same clocks, same monologue, for years, but today I hear them. I notice. As if I were meeting them for the first time. Funny, I recently met myself for the first time, too. Noticed the noise of the mouths in my mind, fat red lips all knocking out that other big T word, Trouble. I am in trouble. Have become that which I never wanted to give credence to, that which I wanted to disabuse: A tortured writer. Tortured and yet another T word, Tired. I have wrecked myself chasing that of which I will never achieve enough: Your approval.

Look, see, like? Whimper.

Yes: Wag tail, run circles, try again.

No: Yelp, retreat, try again.

What if clocks said something else. Imagine. Mouths in my mind, say this, I am enough.

How can I get people on the page to say things, but not my own mind. I am enough.

Listen. I can get even the clocks to say it. I am enough.

Hello new tattoo on my inner left wrist, strings of blue ink on strings of blue veins: I am enough.

Mouths in my mind, I would freeze you just to shatter you. Make you again. I am enough.

Even the hands of the clock know the journey decides the destination. I am enough.

Mouths in my mind, who are you, really. I am enough.

Ma said I shot out of her. I’ve stayed a bullet. Never have, never will, hit arrival. Arrival’s not there. If no there, then here. Here is all. Ask a clock. Bullet can lodge at last. Why, how, what, where, when, would I write if I wasn’t begging for your approval? When did I first start to believe the lie that I’m not enough? Listen and learn, red-blue loudmouths up top. The truth beats in threes from the chest of the clock.