This moment is a persistent beetle, struggling to enter beneath the bone white wood of a screen door. Swept again, foraging and seeking another home, always returning. A day, a week, a year, and again the barely perceptible tap tap scrabble of claw and abdomen. It is black pointed pines, dusk blue pierced, and every word silenced by the artificial sun.
It is cold.
Dubious rain of gold casting its fall
Over eyes that first fall to stone and shade
Until no more
Light is seen.
Against its fur’s dull sheen the very earth
Shimmers, each claw on earth carefully laid
While black eyes keen
Search for prey.
Beneath crag hard and grey in fear I hide
That night would cover hide and scent to fade,
And in this way
Hope for morn.
Hold!—with fury silence torn—a mournful voice
A most terrible voice of terror bayed;
All hope shorn
I must run.
All attempt at escape is shunned with hunger bred
Across nights of want, bred in sleepful days:
My will is done
Pushed resistant from her nest—
Better broken neck been gifted than land
on this supay’s ledge.
Doors open behind which horrors worst imagined
He steps out to hush and gasp and her barely
Mature wings and tips shrouding still
In death’s black eye
Mother and daughter become one as
Passersby silent collaborate through
Shrieks muffled by silence stained
Intended to shade from hanan pacha’s crest,
In this battered bird a takallouf veil
Woven sinews of cloud
Doused and grounded.
Her tender grey will never darken,
Determined flight in stripes lie low.
It must be liberating to be up at this hour, running about in rags through the park, kicking at phantoms and flies, stretching under the watchful gaze of the few still functioning street lamps. I look down from behind glass and over the wall and long to steal a bit of his freedom. What would happen, I wonder, if I crept past my sleeping wife, sleeping dogs, sleeping gate, and hid behind one of the grand molle trees to watch closer?
There are dogs passing by, though not often, casting shadows across walls. He doesn’t notice them, or me, as we shadow our way in a weave, careful to respect one another’s breathing. If I was to step out from this spot, and let my shadow fall upon him, would he let me in on his secret? Most likely, he would stop his pre-dawn calisthenics and speak to me. But then I would lose interest, because he would have lost his freedom.
Crawling back into the wrap of bed is best, or an invisible nod.
We are made up of our experiences, what happens to us, what we happen. That is why memory is a door. We enter, we exit. The murderer, who can forget his acts of violence, is no longer a murderer.
When I see her standing there weeping, painting her young face caged, I walk over and stand to her left. ‘Hi.’ ‘Hi.’ ‘What do you want?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘So, you’re crying.’ ‘Yeah. He did it again. I want out of here.’ ‘Okay, let’s do it.’ ‘Okay.’
Any number of possible endings, but an experience that ended in one. She died. We didn’t do it. I remember because it is part of who I should be.
Then there are those other things. Of shame. Kept alive, we are those people, though we should never have been them. Forgotten, there is hope. That we are not those people, but different.
Only a small world can be described, only a small person knows another.