The Elders

By Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

On Sundays, Libelle magazine could be released from its plastic just as I was from my
school clothes, a packet of cornflakes on the kitchen table, lonely words I shoveled in
unsweetened, cold milk pouring over the edges: it’s never been proven that a full
stomach balances a heavy heart or that avocados are tangible in their

right to exist. Are spirit and matter like two cows in heat who, against all better
judgment, want to get each other pregnant? Or is it like the large rabbit I once let
cover a much smaller one – which obviously resulted in death? Mama flipped faster

through me than the magazine, lingering only when I stood in front of her one day
and said: I’m calling upon my readers, responses are permitted. As I spoke
my body seemed to become a sieve through which only the finest thoughts could
come while the greatest and grossest formed clumps inside of me, Mama answered that

there were tractors that could flatten you like a hare and that it didn’t matter to her
if tomorrow they ended up in the wayside, eyes of glass. Gathered the elders,
those who had gotten the best seats, with views of the horizon, the unsuspecting horizon
which must each day stretch out every reflection. The writer in you makes people sick, everything

you’re saying is so edited it could be published they said, while covertly keeping
an eye on the hare, who was sitting stock-still at the table as if her crossing over
had already happened, they said that cornflakes were invented to give
children the strength to find love not within themselves, but to find it in an.ther:

don’t wriggle on your teddy, girls aren’t here to be thought about, they’re only
for you to confer with. Once the elders had been sent off, Mama forgot about
the wayside just as you often must forget about the wayside in order to endure the turns,
and she gave me Libelle magazine, with the staples in mind, let me thank my listeners, the things.

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