Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species By Phil Self

December 17, 2015 Comments Off on Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species By Phil Self

Little Sister was never great at mnemonics. Thought the rhymes and phrases were silly. She liked to remember the thing itself, uncondensed, whether it was a theorem, a dynasty, the colours of the rainbow. She’d collect a series of facts; chant them over and over to herself, sitting on the floor cross-legged while we listened to the wireless radio. She liked the radio. Square and old, it was difficult to tune in properly: the World Service was about the only thing we could understand. Not all the meaning, but the sound. The radio would speak, a voice in clipped accent soothingly deep, and my sister would repeat. Years went by while Little Sister sat listening, while Big Sister hung laundry. It was what we had. The newsreader tells us about a place called Mumbai. Apparently it’s big and there used to be an empire there. Little Sister listens carefully, her head to one side, quietly saying Colaba, Little Colaba, Bombay, Mazagaon, Parel, Mahim, Worli over and over again. I thought it sounded beautiful, poetry over a riverbed, but I didn’t know what it meant. Slowly, carefully, she taught me what to remember, how.

© 2015 Phil Self

Phil Self lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and considers the weather to be not so bad as people say. This is his first bit of short fiction.

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