Lullaby for a Head Injury

Mr. Blue, you did it right
But soon comes Mr. Night, creepin’ over
Now his hand is on your shoulder
Never mind, I’ll remember you this…
I’ll remember you this way

Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra

Eternal sunshine of the brighton beach. courtesy NancyK! on Flickr

After the sound of the skull cracking, and after the soft sound of my flesh finding the desert floor, I assumed that all the world would go silent.

I lay there in the midst of my own shards, assuming the great white light would appear.

There wasn’t light, only a parade of broken memories. And their soundtrack.

I counted muffled explosions until they stopped long enough for me to forget about them and to start to wonder if I had gone to sleep or even gone somewhere where hearing wasn’t relevant.

Nothing was certain. Except shattered pieces of me — bone, teeth, memories, white blood cells and forgone giggles — dusting the strange country around me. I could move my right arm, so I caressed the hard earth, swimming in a slick of my own discharge.

I felt exposed. A gaping hole opened and music flooded out, songs that I hadn’t remembered knowing.

“I’ll stop the world and melt with you..”

“You do, something to me. Something that simply mystifies me…”

“I close my eyes. Only for a moment and the moment’s gone…”

Pairs of arms cradled me, lifted me, carried me. When it hurt, I cried, and stared into my mom’s face. She crooned too.

“Rest your head close to my heart, never to part, baby of mine.

Terror and I slid in and out of sleep together. An alternate self, peering over at black emptiness beyond concussion, constantly poked me to revive.

I gripped the cotton sheet in the cool dark room and stroked it like skin.  The comfort of it ate at me.

I held as still as possible.

If I shook or even shuddered, the last thin layer of this strange dust on me might fall away. What held me together was as fine as a moonbeam.

All the imagined places I made to hide began to disappear.

“If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?”

— The Clash

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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  5 comments for “Lullaby for a Head Injury

  1. Lisa Hill
    September 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Whoa! Very powerful, and I want to know more! How were you hurt? How old were you? How long did it take to put your self back together? Do you feel you’ve lost something of yourself from the injury? How fragile our selves are!! I can picture music leaking from a head wound.

    • September 21, 2010 at 5:14 am

      Sometime I will tell you the story behind this post… but I prefer to leave it off here and let it take the readers wherever it takes them.

  2. Jill Koertner
    September 21, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Amazing as always.

    • September 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks Jill (-:

  3. Colin
    September 21, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Erie and dreamlike. Or was it a dream? Love it.

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