I prepare for the tones that can’t be taken back, but she spins in her own orbit tonight–the usual knots of our life tied into a flat, black bow. And if my own words crack or penetrate the vapor of her shape, she betrays nothing. So moon-faced in her glimmering sheath. I squint at the pond of vanishing geese.
Inside, space cramps. We curl and tighten. We have learned to cradle our belief in a world filled with hope. To put aside dying birds, hurry and find our seats. Focus on the performance. Let the sparkling symphony lie. We’ve chosen to love, honor and cherish a fate composed by a tone-deaf priest.
My doubts grow. Is it an opera? Should we cry? Or grasp and reclaim our smooth sliding surfaces, recapture an oboe’s echoes from a pit now slicked with blood?
The goddess who gave us kinder notes floats a new melody these days. I once thought she worked by starlight, shifting more skillfully from that world to this. I’m a realist now. Too aware that without these palpable spaces we would crush every silver tune. Brush and smack our fluted dreams into cold-packed cement.
And so we hold our breaths. And so we measure silence. Watch the uvulas glisten about hookers with hearts of gold. Ten thousand more mouths go dry and our hands stiffen to talons. Hurricanes whirl from the wings and still we cling, and still we cling, to some potted-palm belief in a randomly-passing conductor’s baton.
A final celebration of bombs and we yawn. Gather our coats as one.
And so we bear witness, and so we nurture patience. Stoop and shove the well-worn lock with the same old key. Force our shared faults to fit the space of one windshield’s worth of stars. Pray the whole world of tomorrow’s aching light might be forgiven by the conveniently rising sun.
C.B. Auder’s writing and artworks have most recently appeared in Cotton Xenomorph, Moonchild, OCCULUM, Unbroken and Red Queen Literary Magazine. Find Aud on Twitter @cb_auder.
Artwork by: Emily Wiethorn
Emily Wiethorn (b.1991) is a photographic artist currently based in Lincoln, NE where she will graduate with her MFA in Studio Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is an Instructor of Record and holds a Graduate Teaching Assistantship. She received her BFA in Photography from Northern Kentucky University. She has most recently been awarded the 2017 SPE Student Award for Innovations in Imaging, was a Critical Mass finalist in 2017, a finalist for The Texas Photographic Society’s National Photography Award, and is a featured artist in the spring 2018 issue of PDNedu. Her work has been published online with Musee Magazine, Lenstratch, Loosen Art, among others. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in China and Italy. She works primarily in self-portraiture where she explores notions of feminine identity, societal constructs of femininity, and self-discovery.