Kate Ennals is currently doing the MA in Writing in NUI Galway. She has lived in Ireland (Dublin, Cavan, Galway) for the last 20 years, and worked as a co-ordinator and manager in various anti poverty and community sector programmes. She has managed a variety of communication networks and enjoys working with local people. Kate was short listed in the Desmond O’Grady Poetry competition in 2012, and was runner up in the Windows Poetry competiton in 2012. She is to be published in the first edition next January of the new poetry magazine published by the Galway group, The Skylight Poets, and has had a story and poems published in an anthology, ‘From Ballyjamesduff to Belleek’, published by the International Fund for Ireland.
A Worm’s Eye View
The rich red maple trees around Montreal were glorious as they came into land. The landscape in Saskatoon by contrast was yellow, arid, dry. Canada was ordered…blocks of appartments, followed by a block of grand old turretted houses. Cars were parked, all in same direction. Nothing seemed out of place.
Cait found her father leaning back against the hospital pillows. He was tiny. She leaned awkwardly over to hug him. It wasn’t right. He usually enveloped her. He suggested she leave and come back tomorrow after resting from her journey. Tired and relieved, Cait left.
His rented appartment was a dark basement with a nylon paisley patterned carpet of red, orange and brown. The windows were narrow and high up, pavement level with the street: A worm’s eye view. There were 6 foot silver oxygen cannisters. Her Dad’s familiar black tiny fold away travel alarm clock stood by his bed. She picked it up and put it in her pocket. She would take it to him.
The next day, the doctors said he had a week to live. Cait had to tell him. Cait held his metal bedstead for support, relieved she didn’t suck her fingers any longer – the iron taste was terrible, like sucking blood and rust.
“you have only a few days left to live, dad.” Her voice sounded like it came from the corner of the room.
He looked at her with his pale blue eyes. She was relieved to note that his eyebrows were still bushy. Wildly bushy. He squeezed her hand.
“I want everything turned off. I don’t want to wait.”
Cait phoned her brother.
“He wants to turn everything off,”
“Time you and Dad made phone calls,” he said.
The black phone sat beside the hospital bed. Cait dialled her mother’s London number.
When her mother answered, her voice was taut. Cait passed the receiver across to her father.
“I’m ok, love,” her father said. He managed to sound normal, if tired. “Everything is fine. Its good to have Cait here. … Look after the grandchildren. Take care, love.” Nothing else to say.
Friends were out. They left goodbye messages on answer machines. No-one returned the calls.
At 4am he rattled. He was gone. She stared at him. The silence was broken by an insistent beeping. Cait listened carefully.. What could be making that sound? They had disconnected him from everything. She put her hand in her pocket and felt his tiny travel alarm clock vibrating: beep beep beep. It was insistent. She turned it off and left him, taking home a box of warm ashes.