I’m not interested, she said, in restless craving, space-time music, outside combining elements. Images only, she said, with a shake of white hair. Minutes later—on time, she said—life, non-human, began to unravel. The Russian beside her—brave, grassy, invasive—was not performing, in his wise place of silence was intensely not performing. She screamed her shallow line, not yet broken by her own odd thoughts. She waited for an interlocutor, but no one came, only spells from hell and unseen books, beauty brief and dwelling among the pollinators, with its and their bristly hungers, a velvet cloud of flower dust invisible in the wake, their lost apocalypse. At the edge of the world, her world, they sat, watching the garden, a planted intersection, a nest creator, as she dove into irony and he sat firmly in staunch heroics, together awaiting catastrophe, breathing the air of their own absurdity, a romantic generation that believed in freedom, doubt, indeterminate expansiveness, all outcomes tragic, the anti-imperialism of imperialism’s beneficiaries, in conversation between certainty and enemy magic. Pesticide, she said, and for a moment he looked as if he might awaken, respond. An endangered profit system, she said, or prophet—silver and gold didn’t move him. The forest, she said, bark beetles, lover, wind, storm. And her companion sat stoic, blinking. Buckle up, she began, but big cats, gold and silver, ran away with her thoughts. She had a kingly elastic temper, staggering in its theatricality. Dusk arose or fell, arrived, to surround, enclose them. Bats and cicadas, a lonesome pine. There’s more, she said. Or thought. One thing more.
Catherine Gammon is the author of the novels China Blue (Bridge Eight Press, 2021), Sorrow (Braddock Avenue Books, 2013), and Isabel Out of the Rain (Mercury House, 1991). Her fiction has appeared in many literary magazines, most recently in Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, and Always Crashing, and online at The Blood Pudding and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. More at www.catherinegammon.com.
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