I’m not cold until she goes, then my heart slows, the blood I’d grown used to gushing pumps a flaccid pace. I leave the lights out and wrap the dark around my skin in honorific absence, telling the night that light has left with her. Outside, the clouds muster, obscuring the stars and severing our celestial connection. Muddied by the river’s black eddy, the city’s busy sheen gloats with life. The wind whips past me on its way to the horizon and leaves me frigid in its passing. I’m not cold until she goes, then I burn with longing.
Jonah looks away while he’s talking, as though his answers must be recalled from the horizon. ‘It’s like living next to a lake that sometimes floods,’ he says. ‘Some people are never bothered, others are over prepared, and some just get inundated.’ I put my hand on his cheek and turn it towards me. ‘Which are you?’ His eyes stay far away. ‘I suppose I’m the lake, or the fear of the flood.’ I place my lips against his, tasting the salt and tremble that lives there. When I pull away his eyes bore into mine, looking for answers.
I cried myself a river and floated bodily down it. Occasionally I would reach into the brackish wake, hoping to steer by manipulating the past. Of course, I hit every rock I could, lamented the rest, and yearned for the coast. Though I found the tumult quite comfortable, as my journey lengthened I wondered to what end I was headed. The more I thought about it the more the river receded. Eventually I found myself beached, standing upon a raft of experiences and wondering what next. I looked to the horizon, saw a mirage and decided it was real.
There’s part of a dead cat rotting in the corner. Nobody wants to talk about it. An off-brand noir loops its whodunnits weakly on a modest LCD TV. Everybody stares and stays the same. The natural cycle of entropic tropes thins the plot. The air is derelict and the grounds are green but wasted by weedy creepers. There’s no wildlife bar the tomcat, an alley male bastard that flickers at the edges, Schrödinger’s yin to the rancid yang growing rigid in obscurity. Nothing always changes predictably. Something is born, something is dead, between them is everything’s eventual horizon.