then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story
—mary oliver, ‘breakage’
the bald-eyed camera, obsidian-pupiled. it exposes everything. that trick again, everything smaller than you recall. viridian tides grow more mercurial. lips, close-pressed as pages, & a face like a gun, silenced to remembrance. sleek blackness. the road, the sky. rain-ovalled stones marking a collection of bodies. the memories are gathering around your feet like fish, like the immeasurable slips of immutable tongues. you are blurring. even your face, milk- paled, cannot escape the disquieting rush. senselessly miring, words repeat, repeat. annihilating meaning, a tongue tolls tonelessly in its skull spire. nothing has any sense anymore. whitened expanses obliterate. an eye. wide, wide, pulling wider, an oblique gate against which the sky mourns sullenly. each shutter close flakes time to pieces. disintegration. the images, the memories, are they even real? mirrored, cracked. aurulent. the white overhead light blinks facilely, offering no answers. singly, delicately, each shard-sharp catchment of light draws its hooks into flesh. the insubstantial voices, these keen glints. this beautiful torture. are your teeth on edge yet? the blood-bright acids, the iridescences, eat through. each visitation subtracts. flaring neurons refract. they fracture. in the dark, the recollections burn out. they grow moon-softened, dull-eyed. they catch at you, web you. fingers, five, close in on your throat. the estranged, dead, forgotten, shove in. the turn of your head, your profile against the light. the rain cries through. seemingly indelible. like you. yet soon the amputation from reality will be complete. this stability is only temporary. a tomb of photographs, a sepulchre of dead ink. a collection of instances. frozen.
Ellie Fisher is a poet, and student of English and History at the University of Western Australia. Her work has appeared in Not Very Quiet Issue 6, and Once: a Selection of Short Short Stories (Night Parrot Press 2020). She is a regular contributor to Pelican, Australia’s second-oldest student magazine.