Margaret Atwood

The Rest

The rest of us watch from beyond the fence as the woman moves with her jagged stride into her pain as if into a slow race. We see her body in motion but hear no sounds, or we hear sounds but no language; or we know it is not a language we know yet. We can see her clearly but for her it is running in black smoke. The cluster of cells in her swelling like porridge boiling, and bursting, like grapes, we think. Or we think of explosions in mud; but we know nothing. All around us the trees and the grasses light up with forgiveness, so green and at this time of the year healthy. We would like to call something out to her. Some form of cheering. There is pain but no arrival at anything.

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