Atta beats the gong today. We’ll let his words speak for him. Come one. Come all. Here’s ‘Molly’:
Mine is the tale of a weeping sky and a cloud that had no tears to give… of an ‘if’ that was slain before it became… of the thing that you felt that you could not say. My pen is the gong they would clang if they could: I speak in their stead.
I named her molly. She had come here only moments before, on tiny blue wings, a bird without a name. I wanted her. There was nothing more to this desire. No end. No lofty intent. No cause. No reason. I would have her and all would be as it should. The bird was not aware of this. It did not want these things. To be caught, then owned. It did not know I named it molly or assumed it was a she. It was not particularly worldly wise or concerned with affairs of state. It was a bird, blue-winged and harmless for the most part, the unwitting object of my unreasonable desire.
But even as I watched her make those brisk, jerky motions, watched her search with a ‘something reckless’ about her, for something that never seemed to be there, I knew I could not own her. I knew that if I tried I would fail. And so, content to fail before I tried, I stood motionless, unwilling to risk her misinterpreting a sudden movement for the beginnings of a coup d’etat of sorts. For she was loyal, you see: she had sold her soul to freedom a long time ago. Maybe it was this that made me want to have her – that I could not. It is the way of all men, I imagine: always reaching.
I took her all in, stored every detail in that temporary place that disappears when the thing is gone, but while it is there, exists solely for adoration’s sake. It was as close as I could come to seizing her. But even of this, she was unwilling to let go. If I must have the details, then we would share. They were hers and they were mine. There would be no bartering.
And then far too soon, she left – ripped herself away from me, running through the air, with the part of me she’d torn away, tethered to a wing, trailing on a current.
I stared at the place where she used to be. It was still now. Silent and meaningful. I tried to see it as it could be – ‘molly-esque’, tried to see the bird again, but there was something corrupted about the memory. Something fuzzy. Something to do with something else. I did not own the details anymore.
It stung where she had pulled away. I could not find the wound. But the throb was fleeting. It was not long before I could not find the sting. It was gone just like the bird I could not remember and I was grateful to the forgetting.
But I would always know I had been hunted – circled, perhaps; named, even; baited, snared, tethered and taken – would always be haunted by the knowledge that the thing she sought was there all the time. I would never completely forget the bird. Molly. Blue-winged and harmless – for the most part.