Lost

In streets that turn and cross themselves, the only way is through unlit, abandoned houses with empty doorways, crossing through cold, hollow rooms and emerging onto streets lined with unlit, abandoned houses with empty doorways.  You go through again. Your feet touch water. Slivers and chunks of the city slough off in waves. There is a bit of rug woven through branches jammed in the mud; the shattered half of a cabinet crowded by roots and nettles; rocks and stumps decorated by an entire wardrobe of winter clothes. Nature remains inanimate in its gowns drained of color and use, a limp and lifeless portent. You wade through the reeds towards a boat tied to a low branch. The river laps softly on banks of clay. Towards the middle the river is full of flood like film is full of light.

How else do we find our way, perhaps to a beach where, for instance, it is always cold, or to a park where, for instance, it is always dark, for as we know one thing doesn’t always lead to another. All things create their own complicit continuity. Anything can be traced and followed into its borrowed future. Those who are unafraid would rather know – crack the code, read the off-key notion of some emotion flickering on and off until it just makes sense to leave it off. Those who are afraid would rather have respect retrospectively and in counterfeit, the profit of their facility for falsity: false kindness for true lovers, true love for the conveniently kind. Hypocrisy takes its toll and its punishment comes in the form of a slap you have to ask for.

In this exiled state, self-reflexive, self-damning, pushing home away beneath striding feet, you’re the one brushing off this hoped-for life, pushing yourself on by convincing arguments, some spoken others not, sending it all downstream to lay in wait. My fear is that the answers are near, not far, that the foreshadows become the backdrop, that all was lost before the hat hit the floor, that no rabbits are forthcoming, just this running in circles, nothing pulled out but put away under the pretense of being saved under the pretense of being useful. White lies turn gray, infecting the matter at hand with off-hand promises, a temporary illusion to diffuse things.

This unfinished business doesn’t go away. You’re left with something incomplete that can’t be deleted. It should not have ended that way. Why save this day for a rainy one? You’ll regret it more when the score is settled under the weather. You’ll be forced to remember that it’s the end again.

We’re driving into town and all the lines are down. It is too dark to understand directions. My wife holds the map on her lap and speaks quietly out the window, her voice lost in the blizzard.

“It’s really coming down.”

“Yes.”

The snow comes in waves and the waves move towards you, towards the unmoving sand. The waves take their time, each flowing towards you, rising, falling, swelling, breaking once, twice, a thousand times before the last, the closest on the unmoving sand.

The snow and the sand surround you like stars surround empty space. They come towards you in waves and the waves haven’t come closer at all. They move in place, each the same, up and down, never closer just smaller, larger and the last on the unmoving sand falling forward, sliding backwards, never leaving that long divide.

SM

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