A Few Short Words

Dense Not Thick




After the lights go out a second shade of black falls behind my eyes. It’s not absence of light but the addition of everything, a morass of thought that swells and blends and churns away in consumption. I find that I must open my eyes to let the world back in to abate this myopic misery. What is it about the mind that lends itself so well to intimate destruction. I so often wake in an eviscerated state and scramble to reconfigure self. With the lights restored the shadows scramble but they’ve left their mark, indelible like radiation burns.


I find her reading palms by the light of a thousand paper candles. ‘Give me your past,’ she says, ‘and I will offer you a future.’ I take my place among the silk and linen trappings that furnish the floor. Her eyes absorb all that is about us yet hold no reflection nor judgement. I lay out my life in fitful spurts of recollection and scaled memory. She listens in patience and stillness while a warm autumn breeze licks at the canvas tenting. When I am done she smiles and says, ‘There now, you have years ahead for lightness.’


I feel her hand on my shoulder, incalculable aeons of stardust settling. You should be working, a whisper. ‘I was daydreaming about you,’ I say. Only the day? A solar echo. That seems restrictive. Her laughter spools out, universally intertwining light and sound, gravitational waves and electromagnetism. Every move she makes causes an affect. ‘I wish you were here,’ I say, finding myself laughing. It took so long to parse, with nothing but theory until I’d felt the physics. I reach through space to take our hand and her voice is mine, ‘Even when I’m not there—’ I’m here.


A tiny brow crease and wrinkle of the little pock that lives above the left. There’s something in her eyes. They’re glistening, not with tears but a spectrum, a fast vastness that ripples and contorts and plays across the iris like a borealis flirting upon the tundra. This thing in her eyes, it doesn’t hurt but does carry fear; it doesn’t propel, but does carry hope; it doesn’t carry her, but does makes her float. The brows push together more, increasing indent. There’s something in her eyes. There’s a word for it, wholly inadequate but labelled, an unbearable lightness.

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