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The woman named Llane opened her eyes
Same as she did every day by God
This time to find a peculiar sight:
Her whole bedroom was bathing in Blue light.
An aquarium seemed to have
Materialized on the wall opposite her
Bed, taking up the entirety of the space
Underneath the Clock. A dozen fish (or more)
Swam round and round inside, some pointing
A disinterested, glassy eye in her direction;
Llane stared back. How odd!

What else, what else was there? Let us see.
At first glance, the place she was in seemed
Reasonably similar to her earthly bedroom
(Massive aquariums aside, of course.)
Mother’s self-portrait, the pale aquarelle
She’d finished before killing herself, hung
Faithfully on the left wall.
The pretty Chinese lantern Llane found at
Some yardsale years ago, dangled
Gently from the ceiling. And here was
Her cup of tea on the bedside table
Green tea, full of wet leaves, smelling
Funny.This looked all right, Ma’am,
All in order, nothing to see down here.

Except there was, of course, there was
So much to see. Hard to tell, but there
Was something, more than something,
Really. The walls changed and trembled
And sighed, heights and proportions
All over the place. Dear! How absurd!
Was this place small, or high? Was it
Dark or light? It couldn’t seem, alas,
To make up its damn mind.
“What time is it?”

Hard to say, really: the hands of the
Clock weren’t moving, and besides,
They were illegible. How upsetting!
Llane searched for the Calendar,
But woe is me, it was empty: an ocean
Of white, lacking any conceivable
Activity. Structure, design and stillness
Were gone all at once, adieu!
Dear me, I understand, she thought,
And her stomach hurt, and what
A funny little bundle of nerves!
I have awakened, it would seem, in
An empty time slot. This strange
No man’s land between night and
Day, where nothing happens, nothing
Can be done, yet sleep is out of reach.
Only the mind remains, and the mind,
My dear, the mind is quite mad indeed.
Heavens, what shall I do? Alas, there is
No exit: only suffer my way to sunrise
Pray this Blue Room goes easy on me.
Shall we?

But no! It was starting already, the
Madness.The Chinese lantern had
Morphed into something else: a small girl
A doll, string wrapped around her neck.
Her eyes were big and black. Why am I
Here, she seemed to ask, reproachfully.
Why did you bring me here. Why am I
Dead.“Oh no,” Llane said, or cried.“It’s
Not you, Mama. Go away. I don’t want
To think of you that way. It wasn’t my
Fault. I didn’t kill you, no, it wasn’t me.”
No, the doll replied, no, but it’s your fault
For not being there with me, that day, or
Any other day, really. 

Llane looked the other way, but
The Other Way was full of things
One could never ask for.There were
Women inside the aquarium. They
Were blue, too. (Of course!) Llane
Willed them away, to no avail.
Demons! Ignore them,
She thought, move back. But
The only way back was down into the
Memory lane of blue joys and failures
Down into the fantasies, endless stories
Tales Mama used to tell, fables Llane
Wanted to write but never did. Why
Didn’t we? Lack of time, perhaps.
Probably. We’ve had so much to do
And have so much more on our hands.
Life is hard, is it not? Is it my fault?
Stop staring at me.
“What time is it?”

This place is killing me, it is, truly.
If only I could wake up, reach the sunrise
Start to labor like a good working bee.
Where is Mama? Is she still there? No
There’s a blue woman, again. Dangling
Gently from the ceiling. Who is she?
Who are these women? They are closer
Where are their eyes? I cannot see.
The room is dark and filled with smoke
The floor is wet and the air is warm:
Indeed, it would appear the Blue Room
Is now a Blue Turkish Bath.

There are women, blue women all around.
How many? Hard to tell, really.
Five or twenty or a thousand, it don’t matter
It’s all the same. Their eyes are all wrong
They are all dead. Llane would like to scream
But she cannot scream, just sit there and take
It all as her mind is melting, take in her own
Blue sweat and blood, the blue ghosts of her
Regrets and blue thorns of past nightmares.
Let me out, she sobs, but wait, what is this?
What is this sound?

Here it is, ringing with the strength of ages,
This wonder called Alarm clock.
It is time! Morning is here
A glorious new day and new activities.
“Thank you, oh, thank you!”
The hands of the Clock are moving, and
She can read: her sight has been restored,
Her sanity along with it. Everything is still
The walls are white, the Calendar is full
The day is planned. Nothing can go wrong
Anymore, nothing can surprise or shock
Or delight: no colors and fears and small dolls
Can interfere with the perfect blandness
Of her agenda, the lifeless. Llane gets up, still
Weeping, looks around, looks at the
Chinese lantern, and she’s afraid: but
She shouldn’t worry, because there is
Nothing, really. It isn’t moving.

It isn’t moving at all.

THE BLUE ROOM
a fantastical poem by Hélène Belaunde
illustrated with visuals by Audrey Kadjar

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