News of the hurricane’s approach reached Cortez’s ears like something sprung from the grass blades, its antennae failing to register yet again objects of significant bulk standing in its path or its mind failing to make adequate sense of the signals it received in time to make a difference. In time to order a change in trajectory, say, or a full-on retreat such as one might have witnessed when Antony attempted to meet the Parthians on their own soil. I wonder if the dreams we have just prior to such events get in the way or if they contain messages written on the flesh of anyone or anything who happens to inhabit them, who swings in on a chandelier, say, and you glimpse something, briefly, at the elbow. A pictogram in ink, smudged from usage, from the perspiration inevitably produced when the body is put through its paces. Cortez maneuvered her back up against the brick wall and shuffled the length of it so quickly you might have mistaken her for a shadow or a sea creature such as those that routinely find their purchase on solid ground and scurry about looking for something to eat or at least something to keep them entertained. A puppet show produced by a youth pastor with a poor grasp of the faith, the dialogue ripe with synecdoche and questions that have answers, certainly, but those answers take a lifetime of patient study to discern, and when you do succeed in discerning them, you can’t help but wonder if the original questions might not have altered themselves some in the meantime, out of necessity, even ceased to exist as questions if by questions you mean those utterances we create by inflecting certain syllables the wrong way. By treating them as traffic signals or turning our backs on them the way you turn and face the other direction when someone who has insulted you comes into view. And how ridiculous you look, your comb sticking out of your pants pocket, your hands fluttering nervously at your sides as if they have just ingested large quantities of a certain well-known psychotropic substance! Cortez got it into her head somehow that the safest place to weather the storm was aboard a frigate and so she walked aboard on the arm of a man she had never seen before and, once she managed to give him the slip, spent hours and days below decks re-reading the comic book she had picked up on her way over to the wharf. Its pages were yellow and some of them were missing and the story centered around a man who preferred the after-images that populated his eyelids when he closed his eyes to the real thing which was entirely too colorful and bright and the objects in it were apt to move from one place to another before you could get a reliable sense of what they were, of what distinguished them from all those other objects very close to them in appearance that occupied the same general space and that, if you weren’t careful, could put you in mind of the market where they bartered slaughtered flesh right alongside the cucumbers and the candles as if there were no qualitative differences between them, as if all of it naturally ran together into, if not one, then the closest prime number to one that wasn’t also at the same time seven.