Slow Waltz Through Inflatable Landscape
At the time of his seeing a hole opened—a pocket opened— and left a space. A string of numbers plummeted through it. They were cold numbers. They were pearls. And though they were cold the light they cast was warm, and though they were pearls he thought they were eyes. They blinked. He blinked back. Anything that blinks must be friendly, he thought, until he saw the code —a string of numbers—carved into their sides and grew afraid. He tried to close the space but it was no longer his own. He tried to close his eyes but they were no longer his. He tried to close his mouth, his hands, his ears but they were no longer his, were never his to begin with: this was the time of his seeing. The world opened. A line began. A tree grew above him and he thanked it. A sun dawned over the line and he thanked it. A building unfolded abruptly and blocked the sun and he put his hand on its side and thanked it for the shade, he put his hand on the sidewalk and gave thanks to the cement—it was cool and wet and took the shape of his hand into it—he put his eyes at the feet of a woman and she lifted them, to her own, and he thanked her, from the inside, and she understood. Wires swirled above him, straightened out along an avenue and the lights came on. One moon rose. A second moon rose on the windshield of a car and he thanked them both. This was the time of his seeing. This was the time. An electric green beetle shuttled out of the darkness and landed on his forearm, pulsing, he didn't remove it. It seemed relieved. Some things work very hard to leave the ground. Somewhere an infant called out, sharply, was comforted into silence. The deep note of an owl opened a tunnel in the air. He was growing tired. He didn’t want to stop. The world opened. A line began. It traveled out ahead of him and returned, tracing a wave, white foam gathering, gathering the moonlight, black water rising into a wall and he held up his hand: the wall froze, trembling, the head of a seal poked through, looked around, withdrew, he liked the way its whiskers bent forward as it withdrew and he liked the way his hand had stopped a wave so he thanked his hand and moved on, into the outskirts, the taste of salt on his tongue, the taste of brine, it made him thirsty although he had no thirst. This was the time of his seeing. This was the time. And the skeletal shadow of a radio tower loomed to the right of him, creaking, a red gleam, then nothing, he thought he heard music passing through him and he was right: he was humming something from a song, but he couldn't remember the words, which was fine, they were sentimental anyway so he thanked the radio tower and kept moving, the road turning to gravel, the gravel turning to dust, the ditches sang with frogs, the ditches were silent, a pair of yellow eyes waited for him to pass and so he passed, calmly, since the beetle was with him, trying to refold its wings, and the tree was with him, unfolding its leaves, and a man was with him, walking at his side —he didn't need to ask who he was, so he didn't, but in the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse: he seemed familiar, he looked like him and he was, although a string of numbers was carved into his side. He asked if he could touch them and he said Yes, touch them. They were cold numbers. They were pearls. He asked if he could kiss him and he said Yes, kiss me, and so he did. It was a strange kiss. It was a beautiful kiss. It seemed to last a long time. It seemed to last a lifetime.
Copyright © 2005 by Christian Hawkey.