At the bottom of the lens.
Where is the story to account for waves of squirrel over branch, or this ache reminding there is no way sometimes it seems to reckon with (to recognize?) the way things are and when the fall and the hawk and the fire–––?
No. Look. Stop this.
I am looking. It’s the seeing that won’t come. I remember when sight was like a vision, the undulating body of it, ripe with equal parts recognition and want. Now this spinning, keeping watch, shapeshifting dark. It knows me. But I want to remember the other one. Who laughed and meant it.
Then, the light moved from us, and with it, those familiar unknown bodies that used to catch and dance with it, and the water went dark. Then we wondered, but there was no one to ask. Why had we made an audience of these creatures, when we might have gathered sooner to witness? What they were.
Considering the challenge of writing among the dead; the fabrics connecting blood and screens to war machines, it can be helpful to keep attention in the unlit regions. This is why I prefer the dark corners, the spaces where all I can do with language is acknowledge its opacity, and all I can do with looking is notice the limits of sight. So much of what passes for light is blinding. I am suspicious of acts of solving and fixing, when applied to the living. I can’t fix anything, have no solutions, and prefer not to be distracted from the living by any more offers from those that claim they do. Leave me to the tender work of mending instead.
When it came time to hide in the cellars again, in that dark damp we all feared, some would not go. One of the grandmothers said, I’d rather die in my perfectly decorated flat. Whatever moves in the dirty basement she will not enter, it does not scamper like the mice in the attic. What moves here is slow like the drips from the faucet. There are candles, flashlights. Faces glow against the screens before them. Some close their eyes, try to sleep.
Do they dream? Fitfully. The cellar dreamer knows that the walls of the cellar are buried walls, with the entire earth behind them. Tell me, where is the fear that does not become exaggerated? The cellar becomes buried madness, walled-in tragedy. When they say take shelter, we wait.
The grandmother’s protest is a reference to Nika Melkozerova’s recent guest essay in the New York Times. Other italicized lines are from Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space.