“Life has holes.”
My mother told me when I was younger that the world had gaps,
had gaping edges,
had unfolded patches,
places where the colour couldn’t run, where the crayons missed, places the sun wouldn’t reach.
She told me there were entire universes, cathedrals,
whole oceans of darkness and sadness
and sometimes, not for negligence nor for caution,
you can find yourself opening your eyes right in the middle of the black cathedral,
gazing up at the altar where the priest wears black, where his skin glitters like the veil on a bride. She said you’ll stare at the stain glass window, where the colour is always blood,
at a picture in black and white,
told in shades: shades of pain, of tears, of torn flesh and searing wounds.
One day, my mother found herself waking to darkness,
to a hole she was collapsing into and no one knew why.
She told me she had simply found a small detail God had overlooked
in his haze of finding a home for Jesus
and a cage for Lucifer in which he could believe in.
She said the pews were like canyons and once she sat down,
it was near impossible to bring herself back up.
She told me there were angels and sinners alike who had awoken lost on the pew,
listening like she, to the hymns of the Angels that God never intended us to hear;
the hymns they sing at the water cooler,
they whisper behind the bible,
they call in the hallways of God’s home,
they write into their diaries long after Cherubim and Seraphim have sent them to bed.
She said she saw a woman she didn’t know sitting beside her.
That the woman told her that life has holes,
that she once had had a son made of pure sunlight,
a son who adored a man who adore him back,
and then one day he found himself in a cage somewhere different than before,
with his light gone out,
and someone else’s name written in fire on the door.
My mother said the woman told her that when she went to visit,
she saw her Lucifer still in his eyes but she knew not how to separate him from Satan,
how to bring back his light.
She said he said he wouldn’t walk out of the fire with her,
he wouldn’t leave his cathedral,
that he enjoyed too much the hymns,
was tantalised too much by the stain glass.
She told my mother that life has grey areas but people do too
and that there is always someone willing to walk through flood and fire to help you.
She said my mother needn’t worry.
She said God sometimes missed the holes,
that he’s always so worried about finding us a home we can put our faith into he forgets to fill in the dark spots and the gaping edges so instead,
he tries to put people far from them.
My mother says people roam,
that we like to wander,
that souls collate,
hearts seek out those that beat familiar
and sometimes that means we meet in the dark
or one of us has to cross a sad canyon just to find bliss
but my mother told me not to worry.
“Life has holes.” she said
and so it does
and sometimes the people in the streets call the cathedral a treacle palace,
and sure we all lose a loved one to the endless cathedral
and sure sometimes we get to see a loved one walk out and sure,
they do walk out into the light like a newborn, gasping,
but mother says not to worry about any of that.
My mother says, “life has holes”
and I know she means that mothers stay inside burning buildings to protect their children,
that brothers storm black cathedrals to retrieve their sisters,
that friends drown in oceans to help another.
She tells me not to worry about the holes
and I know she means “I’ll follow you.”