The heart stirs at the sound of a motorcycle—speeding—broken noise coming through glass. I tell myself that, maybe, after enough practice, the stirring will understand the breath, or that the breath will instruct the stirring to understand that the motor of the engine eventually rises like a flag, eventually reaches the summit like a hiker. The breath rocks the chair. I remember my mother when I was a newborn.
The body becomes a buzz of a bee, and the heart a dying motor.
A girl lost her ticket to a concert. She desperately looks for it in a pile of clothes she has hoarded over the years. Her mother, a hoarder, enters her room, asks her daughter if she happens to have seen her mother’s 89th pair of shoes. Her father, downstairs, finds the pair of shoes in the family car. He proceeds to clean the garage.
Here’s a story about silence. See, there is a woman, and she’s leaning against a tree, and this tree is in the middle of the street, where cars are passing and where roadkill is born. She isn’t moving, and neither is the tree, for trees do not have feet.
But cars continue to pass by them, honking horns and aggressively speeding. They hit neither. The girl and the tree are communicating. The tree through the rustle of its leaves, and the girl through the stillness of her lips.
The rocking chair swings back and forth and to and fro as the old woman hums a tune popular in her youth. The table in front of the rocking chair was placed there to keep her from falling face first, so it would be table first and tables are not usually the first things we consider when we’re falling unless it is at least from the second floor our bodies are falling from. The old woman rubs her knees and she remembers the tune was from her high school dance, or a dance she wasn’t able to recall what the occasion was but she was sure it was special. The sun rises.
When people sleep, they undergo stages without their knowledge. People slip into a state where the abyss exists and anything can fill it: a painting, a landscape, skylines. The void consumes without permission, without warning, and people fall into its trap because they need it. Their system shuts down, like a device, except devices don’t have the will to plug themselves back on when they’re ready. But who is to say people can? A body at rest can sense light with an awareness of the world that surrounds them.
People can also be shut down, and shut down for eternity, even when they’re ready to plug themselves back on.
I try to draw the boys
so I can see them
I draw these boys
looking at me
as though they could feel
when they were made to feel nothing
for no one
but the one looking.
I fall asleep
sometimes drawing them
and get back to work
in the morning.
I draw these boys so
slowly I think
they get tired of waiting
for me to finish.
But when I do they’d complain
about them having
to stay forever
Earlier that morning, as Wren sat on the bench by the bus stop, an old man approached her, asking for coins. It was all he wanted, he said. So Wren gave him, and he thanked her, and he walked away. Wren looked at the old man with a heavy heart, and a heavy wallet. The moment the old man stopped (he sat by the bushes), she stood up and gave him a few bucks more.
“That’s really nice of you, young lady. Thank you.”
Wren only smiled.
Just then, a bus came. It was too crowded, even though others have already alighted. Wren decided to remain, under the heat and in the company of the deceiving asphalt. The old man got up, gave Wren a nod, then went his way. Wren waited.