A Few Short Words

Dense Not Thick




We’re different ends of a watch spring. Where she coils tighter with actions and purpose, I grow slack to yield tension. I tick away and she tocks towards, holding taut equilibrium in the void. Calculated to equalise flaws, wound precisely together, we are honed to count on each other. It’s a wonderful way to spend time and oddly efficient, flying fast in the way of these things. No matter how much has passed it always feels fuller, flowing with the potential of a bottomless hourglass. We go on this way forever, forging past and future while enjoying our present.


The moon sits on its empty throne pouring silver into the river like a forge disgorging purpose. The water accepts and spins its winnings into rippling silk that flows from bank to bank. Upon the shores the huddled masses lap their zees, feeding the night’s currency into tomorrow’s activities. Out of sight the curlews cry in mournful account. The night, they say, is fleet and fierce and makes the cost of living great. From the comforts of their black morass the stars record these tender exchanges, charged with value of an incredible order their bid for life never depreciates.


I like watching the old men smoke on the Shinkansen, there’s a certain furtive elegance to it. Not quite nonchalance but something akin to devil may care. ‘Nationality doesn’t matter,’ Tanaeda-San says, ‘culture is only the tiniest artefact, it’s a trait that grows over time or is embedded in youth.’ I’m not so sure, I tell him, our elderly carry themselves differently, almost fearfully at times, their retirement seems almost a gamble. ‘So so so so so,’ he says, and turns to watch his country sliding by the cabin window. ‘Then perhaps they need to consider not stopping.’


Except for some loose ends stuffed in a duffel and buckled in back, most of the boy’s bits are locked in the boot. It’s too early for them to smell but the air is thick with unpleasantness anyway. I roll down my window and let the wind render my face, feeling for my self in the spaces it’s not. It moves fast enough to call it coursing but lacks abrasive impact, in fact it’s almost soft, it doesn’t press upon me but moves with chilling grace. I wish I could be part of it and flow with unimpeded purpose.

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