Flag Pond 01

The house was salt burned gray and literary. The rooms were costumed such that each throbbed like a book kept secret from the bare stacks of the library. So much silence contained, so many swept shut calls for help, so many dusted shut songs of solar romance, foliage, budding and puckered dusty flowers, and the young yearning for the perfectly delicate sound. The rooms were the seasons, the apostles, the time zones, all bound together in as many discrete bits as was necessary to make any whole that rationality conspired to require for states of mind of excuses of whimsy. In the absence of sky vowelly birds call. What sound like echoes are multitudes. None of the windows open now, the doors rarely. Stiff winds smell of salt and rot. Claws scuttle across the floor of the attic. Moldings trace and ants unite the rooms. One room is brown in constant aromatic wildfire smoke or dingy clouds that flicker at the window. A moth can’t fly and falls between floorboards to somewhere. On a clear day another large house once appeared on a separate promontory too reduced by the distance to be believably occupied. None of these contingencies need research. Each can exist at once or separately in different shades of recollection strewn into many hearts. A room is clogged with roses in icons, none living, carved into wood lamp spindles, stamped in paint along the borders of walls without stem, scaled in thorns, cheap votive holders, embroidered placemats, pennants, throws, coasters, cast glass phials spiraling in relief, some plats of a quilt, shams, foliate eyelets on lacework, a long dress on the floor just next to the bed, partially beneath, ticked, leaves only, overlapping perfectly in sequence so impossible to count, choking the blooms when the count is less or sagging like a haggard wattle, dying colors on matted prints in dead already brittle mauve frames, none living, none quite red, white, yellow, or rose. Each room choked thus on different afflictions. These weren’t my room. I remember. You walked one night through paltry and sparse drifts of white moths themselves walking on their filament legs. None expect another night. Another night is a hallucination, the moth’s diminutive conception of death, though truly that next night all are dead. In the morning they quickly are powder. When the front door hangs open salty wind winds up through the house and sneaks through imperfections in the attic walls and roof. Deceptively bright daylight strands in the chinks. Salt doesn’t fit through, only the breeze. It blows eggshell coffee saucers from the table. The little pieces stand out from the scuffed plastic kitchen, swept clean, dry and dreamt. Parallel to the breeze, which is silent, a mechanical whir with paced click, slide, and hiss vocalizes unspeakable traumas of long struggling lives, mimicking the wind, hoping to be whisked into the stars depositing their salts, their fragments.

Critical Response:

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