1556 c/o David Fishkind


When I wake up you are already moving around, and I feel the same. Your sister walks to me and asks how I am. I nod and move around to show that I’m okay. I move my arms wildly. There are a lot of things I think about saying, but I stay silent. The air is colder than usual, which surprises me. I am wearing fewer clothes than before, and I can feel the morning air touching my face and chest.

You are talking quickly and seriously, and I’m not sure if it is directed at your sister or me. I ask if anyone else is around. Your sister and you look at me. I cannot help but grin a little.

My hair is longer than it had been, and I think about the ground. Where the ground could have gone. Anywhere, I guess.

The word recycling comes to mind a lot throughout the day. We are walking.

You speak in a strange voice to your sister. I never remember you speaking in that voice before.

I often stop to look around. I like to touch the people’s foreheads. But I ignore the ones that speak to us. You try to conceal signs of sympathy. Your sister averts her eyes a lot. In the sky, dust moves around slowly in great masses—it looks like birds migrating a little. I think about my mother.

Thoughts seem transient. I picture the insides of an animal, my penis hardening and softening rapidly, your breasts.

We are thirsty and drink from something. It tastes awful and delicious at the same time. I know what my mouth must look like right now. I notice your arm. It still looks bad, but I am grinning and I can’t stop and I want to throw my body around your body. Your sister tells me to close my mouth, and I do.

We go to sleep and wake up. We do this several times. I lose track. We walk. Houses are crushed a little. Animals with their bodies in positions. There are less people trying to talk now.

There is the rift valley. We look down in it. Your sister touches my leg. I imagine pushing her in. I spit and say something. You move away quickly, possibly crying.

At night I want to hold you. I try to get close to you. No matter how close I get to you it seems impossible to touch you. I reach out my hand to touch you and you are too far away. I move closer. I extend my arms. I am directly behind you. Our atoms might be pushing
together. But you are out of reach.

I can’t be sure about how things happen. I become ill. Your sister brings me things. We don’t move. There are some fires. I drink something. I don’t want to talk. Time passes. I get better. We walk more. Further. At nights you watch me. You won’t touch my hand. I cannot move it anyway. Eventually I am better. I want to ask you how many days I set us back. I wonder how we are alive, or what we are eating. You say we are close. I say we are not. You say you don’t know. You don’t look serious for a moment—you look weak. We sleep.

In the morning your sister walks off to look for something. You lie still, and I can see that you are awake. Your face is hardened, mangled, broken, and I cannot stop thinking about what your teeth must look like or me and my face, with my bones all open and my intestines spilling out across the ground, and the foreheads of the people surround my peripheral vision and weigh me down with their sweat, their heaving grace. I touch your leg. It is softer than it ever was. And you come to me. I keep my eyes open to see that it is real and immediately wake up.