On the wall a Christ with its lips stitched shut. They spoke German
in the darkness, televisions storming. A hollow in the floor where
they kept the text: What are these wounds called eyes, these scars we
speak through? He lit a candle and it shivered. Somewhere a crowd
had gathered. He remembered what his father once said: when you see
danger move towards it.
Mornings were the worst, the consciousness. Streets as vicious as
childhood. Sometimes he thought of America, someone always scoring a
touchdown, guessing the answer. People were living longer, the heart
outlasting desire. Stray cats slunk from the shadows, eyes puckered
and oozing. He reached out to touch one and it shot into darkness.
Once he found himself lying awake like an old-time flying machine,
throbbing in his body, writing in the secret journal of the night.
Dear Night, he wrote, let there be a place where women walk like
tigers, where their eyes are steel and ice, where their spiked heels
wound the ground they walk on.
The people were smooth and clean as hospitals. He found a buried
church, a girl playing cello. Her long arms moved over the throat
like something wounded trying to fly. On a napkin he wrote, I’m never
more alone than when I’m with you.
He met a woman at a bar. It smelled like America, salt and fat and
perspiration. There were wolves on television. Everyone was watching
the kill, blood in their teeth. At night the whores made kissing
sounds outside his window. Someone said in English, see you on the
He thought, I want to go into the forest with a few good friends and I
want us to get lost, and together I want to read the position of the
sun, the moss on the trees, and find our way to safety.
He found himself crying for no reason. A baby touching its face, a
Nature Channel special on the pilgrimage of salmon. Once he stopped
at a yellow light while the other cars continued, moving through the
red into the future.
The airport was bright lights and voices, like surgery. People were waiting to be called, to be strapped in. Soon his body would enter the sky and then he would be in another place.
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