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Street Girl


In blood are we born. I came into the world a second time the day when, while washing, I saw a red stain on my sheet. It was in Cabourg, the night before Easter. ...

Perhaps I had already stepped to the other side of the looking glass, since inside I no longer recognized the appaerance of things. Who was this scrawny girl in the white nightgown, in the middle of her open thighs a trickle of red liquor the color of church wine? And those eyes. Were those eyes mine, barbwired with lashes vibrating like a paramecium's, those eyes as opaque as hard stones, those agate eyes that had just pierced the fog and had begun to see? Were those pointy shoulders mine, the clavicles as straight as two ivory rulers pushing to the surface of the skin, that barest hint of breasts, that belly of a kid who suffers from air in the stomach and eats too much cake? And down there, the unknown. Two furrows, two small streams of blood that were blue, forked, branching, hidden in the hollow of the crotch, in the place where the skin is white, creamy, and sickly due to its softness, and farther down, genitals - a nail scratch, which hadn't much to do with the whole business. It was most especially at stomach level that the upheaval was located. A scratched stomach and guts thanked me for their wet heavy wound, the Devil's claw, fire and flood, a prickling burn and a reflection floating with splattered moons. And what if I was dreaming? What if I had cut myself on some glass? If somebody had slashed my pussy with shards in order to punish me? For what? Well, you've always done something wrong, ever since that little number with the apple. I touched the slit and drew away my vermilion-colored finger. No, no bits of glass. It's funny, I am as hollow as a tree trunk, I thought. Hollow as those round billboad columns in the streets. And I felt my legs go wobbly as if I had just been plopped in front of the Holy Grail; I felt like splattering myself with fresh blood, filling up the bidet with it and sticking in my feet, doing a lipstick drawning on the mirrors of enormous scarlet genitals, open, pulpy, and moistened like lips and elongated like squash; from my belly came rushing down all the rivers of the earth, the waters of the Ganges had its source at the roots of my life and flowed from my mystical wound; all around me I felt the phosphorescence and the wet shimmer of Salammbô's zaïmph, all around my head floated a little of the diffuse bluish glow stolen from the moon's corona, queen of moisture, the ever-changing sticky uterine cavern of night. In my belly, an earthquakened crust, sea trenches opened up, Atlantic ridges, wounds of gleaming coral, a whole Labrador which flowed toward the barely open estuary of my sex where palpitated lichens and starry foam caressed by the primordial tide, the tide that eats away at chalk cliffs, the wine-colored tide that had also made me crumble away, had invaded me, infested me, flooded me, gobbled me up by the root and picked me clean down to the level of a peneplain only to leave me there, crucified, stretched out on the ground with open thighs licked by a luminous ruby-colored foam.

Muriel CERF
Translated by Dominic Di Bernardi

Street Girl......... © 1988, The Dalkey Archive Press
(Les Rois et les Voleurs......... © 1975, Mercure de France)
Photo Harold Chapman

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