Up high, on a rock, say, a promontory, storms look like altogether different entities than those you might remember from when you lived on the plains, with their wildly undulating tentacles and their rain slashing sideways at everything that moves. When you look down on them from above, there is a sense that they are not serious in their designs, that the course they have taken is random and indicative of nothing so much as the mood, the dire assumptions, of those who happen to be observing. After a certain interval, as is to be expected, the monk decides his reasoning has been compromised somewhere along the way, that the devil or something very like the devil has set up operations in the center of his skull and it will take a great deal of effort to evict it, to open the earth up at a nearby seam and cast everything unclean and bespectacled and poorly-shod into it the way you might toss worn blankets and broken tea pots into the dumpster that sits perpetually at the end of your street. Best to be circumspect, he decides, as concerns Kia, who, he knows from close observation is apt to let the irrational part of herself – that part affixed with twine and stone buttons and looking like a close replica of the woman herself, but two thirds the scale and lacking the gaze that tends to hold you where you stand passive and helpless, that all but convinces you that you don’t at that moment exist – feed on its own substance and expand. He knows it will be all he can do to utter his own name backwards, to cast spells that relieve him of the obligation to speak clearly, to lay out once and for all his reasons for why he no longer stops by to see her at work, why he no longer orders the crepes and lingers over them with his mouth full of words she has never heard before, his mind racing ahead of them both very nearly at the speed of light to a place where no light as yet exists, unless you wish to count what bare light bulbs give off as light. Or, for that matter, what the sun gives off when we are facing away from it, when the world and everything in it has turned for a moment toward the unspeakable emptiness of space as if it expects to find there the answer to a question, to an old-fashioned riddle delivered in rhyme, that has been plaguing it from the moment of its inception.