Friday, March 9, 2012

Would you expect visual representation when all you have before you is random shapes and colors, a pattern that only a machine could extract? And that after seven months of trying. Her foot felt as if it had been crushed but there was no visible injury, no discoloration or record of the event. When they attempted to infiltrate her dreams they found their progress blocked at every turn by something very like concrete, which suggested they were starting at the climax and ought to reverse their course if they wished for results of the sort others might replicate. After that, no one would speak for fear of raising the specter of revenge, of fully grown human beings wandering about the hallways dressed like the invertebrates that call tide pools home. The starfish and the anemones. I would like to be able to tell you the hours begin to empty themselves of grappling hooks eventually, of every sharp thing that pulls at the flesh as the flesh is passing through, but to do so would be to commit the venal sin of saying things just because people wish to hear them or because they feel good in the throat. The ground grew more moist the further west she travelled and she was afraid people could read her mind. The combination, as all combinations will, ruined the ambiance she had worked so hard to create, ruined it in an instant, though this instant happened to extend itself well beyond what could legitimately be considered the boundary and influence of that word. Perhaps this is why her heart rate increased suddenly to a perilous level. It had nothing to do with the hand stroking the flesh of her neck rhythmically, had nothing to do with the fingers reaching for the place where her lips met the left corner of her mouth. Who knows? another ten minutes and you might have sensed something snaking its way between the shrubs at the base of the flag pole, an apparition every bit as mysterious as the ones that have the habit of showing up in old houses. Only this one was composed of flesh and blood and a little bit of cartilage, and when you tried to corner it, when you tried to run it down and capture it with a butterfly net or the lid of a garbage can, it vanished. It seemed almost to taunt you. It knew, for example, your weakness was centered in the eyes. It knew that the harder you tried to employ your eyes in the service of whatever it was you were trying to accomplish, the more likely it was that they would cross involuntarily. They would begin sending you snapshots of objects that weren’t actually there. Like a porcelain Minotaur. Or certain river fish rumored to increase a woman’s fertility if she slept with one secreted beneath her pillow. 

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