A WEEK IN A DAY by Anna Kirwin


A week in a day

by Anna Kirwin


Promise explodes from her gossamer wings as she crosses the threshold. Under the gaze of none but the cockroaches, clicking and clacking across the torn lino, she releases a commonplace flutter of ordinary plans for a future unconsidered. In this unsullied opportunity for such a hollow vessel, unblemished by thinking and weighty with confidence, she knows to stay light. Beyond our demands for beauty, little is asked and less performed. Her wings flutter unhindered, still transparent, still unreachable, and we gaze, transfixed by symmetrical hypnosis.

She is not the sum of two halves, but a half repeated. In this demi-world of possibility, she thrives, twice of the half that she is. But a controlled half is far from a dangerous thing, they think, and let her fly free. Young for the old guard, she is welcomed by the admirals and with their desire, not to mould her in the vision of themselves, but to follow and nod and follow and nod, so she flies just like a child: unrestricted, unrestrained, unreliable. She feigns experience and expertise, keen to prove a point about herself.  Unaware of the pitfalls of the pack, the turbulence of the ripples of air which push randomly across her path trouble her.  She only thinks she has the sense of age. Her wings heave.

Up, she ascends, surrounded by the troupe, at heights too lofty for her to breathe. Birds circle, but the threat comes to nothing. Beauty encourages confidence over competence. She copies the frogs. She mimics the spiders. But repetition doesn’t build empires.

The flutter can’t flutter together forever. Pandemonium reigns in the chaos of nature. First one, then another disappears. It’s easy to be beautiful when you’re the only one left.

Change has come to her now too. As she transforms, her wings recede, just tiny little secrets, tucked in, hidden. Her features collapse into discs which collapse into caterpillar soup. Retracting her skin, reducing her food, she tips over on her twig and, shedding the leaves upon which she had feasted to plump herself strong, she rolls herself back into her silky cocoon, folds back into the egg and shrinks into a larva.


Anna Kirwin is a writer and artist, living in London, but dreaming of the Arctic. Her last published piece explored the strange glow of European cities by night, but more generally, her recent work deals with language, thought and time. She sees light in the darkness.


21 April 2021