Saturday, July 30

making poison

when i was five my brother and i made poison.
we were living in a city then but we probably would have made the poison anyway. we kept it in a paint can under somebody else's house and we put all the poisonous things into it that we could think of: toadstools, dead mice, mountainash berries which may not have been poisonous but looked it, piss which we saved up in order to add to the paint can. by the time the can was full everything in it was very poisonous. the problem was that once having made the poison we couldn't just leave it there. we had to do something with it. we didn't want to put it in anyone's food but we wanted an object, a completion.
there was no one we hated enough, that was the difficulty.
i can't remember what we did with the poison in the end.
did we leave it under the corner of the house which was made of wood and brownish yellow? did we throw it at someone, some innocuous child? we wouldn't have dared an adult. is this a true image i have, a small face streaming with tears and berries, the sudden knowledge that the poison was really poisonous after all? or did we throw it out, do i remember those red berries floating down a gutter, into a culvert, am i innocent?
why did we make the poison in the first place?
i remember the glee with which we stirred and added, the sense of magic and accomplishment. making poison is as much fun as making a cake. people like to make poison. if you don't understand this you will never understand anything.

margaret atwood

4 comments:

Four-Billion-Year Chill said...

mmm poison

h said...

we used to make poison. and potions. lots of potions. especially at bathtime.

Anonymous said...

People like to make poison.

People like to be rebellious.

Aren't the two statements similar?

Anonymous said...

The irony is that man subconsciously mixes up the "poisoned wine glass" and ends up killing himself via greed, selfishness, and more greed. Atwood is sadly correct: We love to make poison. It's only a matter of time now...