we had been talking about Merit and I’ll tell you where the Merit came from: because the other stayed human all through the night and into the morning, all death ended.
what did I leave behind? you tell me I know, but I think it has changed shape, been squandered beyond recognition, that part of life…
language is something bestowed but takes effort. you have mine but I don’t have yours.
you tell me to return to the shore and gather up the messages.
she has left a message for you among the messages. it says:
sweetheart, come to me, sweetheart, come to me…
the new guest speaks in a whisper, who whispers?, or is it who whispers, the air is heavy, the clouds are massing. the light gone.
you know me, the new guest says, who whispers?, or is it who whispers.
I am a stranger. io un estraneo. siamo tutti estranei. we are all strangers.
my hand. la mia mano.
my hand passes through the new guest like a cloud. like mist, like fog, like memory.
la mia mano la attraversa come una nuvola, come nebbia, come nebbia.
I meet the new guest on the mountain…
in a dream I say: no, the cat can’t fly
remnants from a dream like a photograph…
the sound and then the sound remembered. the cat and then the cat remembered. the guest and then the guest remembered.
the cat can’t fly.
the cat is climbing down the cliff to the shoreline.
where there is a letter in the sand:
Dear A____, when I wrote to you, it was the other A____ I was looking for, not this one. Dear A____.
Dear A____, your eyes unsettle me, embarrass me, they put me off my game.
last night I saw you plunge from the top of the cliff into the ocean. you were wearing your blond wig, when you emerged from the water not a hair was out of place.
Dear A____, your eyes unnerve me, fluster me, perturb and distress me.
I walk along the shore. I listen to the laughter from the sand, and see the crests of waves and the seagulls. ha ha ha from the laughing master. ha ha ha
Rosalind Palermo Stevenson is the author of the novel The Absent, the novella Insect Dreams, and the chapbook Kafka At Rudolf Steiner’s. She has published fiction and prose poetry in literary journals including Web Conjunctions, First Intensity, Drunken Boat, La Piccioletta Barca, Skidrow Penthouse, Spinning Jenny, Washington Square, Literal Latte, and Quick Fiction, among others. Rosalind lives in New York City where she is currently writing a book which continues her poetic exploration of the fragmented and the episodic, and in which past, present, dreams, and reality coagulate into one another at the intersection of speculative fiction and autobiography.