what a difference a year makes

The World Did End… We Just Didn’t Notice

It happened that night, the way it had never happened before. In an instant, everything perpetually blurred had made itself clear. Most didn’t notice. Many of those who did had the prescriptions on their contact lenses adjusted and then went about their business. But a few, noticing for the first time the mountains pushing themselves through the toothpick boulevards, began to gaze a little further than before. They saw the sounds under the speech. When they walked (as they now often did, instead of folding themselves into fetal positions aboard buses and trains and automobiles) their hips swayed and not clicked. They saw the old white woman in the black lace dress and the sooty hair with a dog to match.

The World Had Ended. What was that like, to live in the afterlife? We built museums to house the rulebooks and manuals for the versions of ourselves that were out of date. We grew our homes and fed ourselves on family secrets. We stopped saying [NO] and we stopped saying [yes.] and we just said… Okay. All right, then. Of course. We spent more time with our ears pressed to the concrete and we let mating bugs crawl through us.

Blue shiny scarab beetle. Baby bat. Pigeon and peacock. Gray gecko. Hoopoe and raven and nightingale. Mosquito. Eagle. Fly. Wild boar gored a deer. They were all the same. Every time we opened our mouths, diamonds fell out until the sidewalks glittered, the animals wore encrusted furs and we went swimming in matter on the basis of regularity.

The babies finally admitted that they didn’t want to eat their vegetables because they were fed by angels and there was an angel in the crystal the healer gave to you and this happened at least 5.7 times a day. Indigo children became indigo ancestors and we dipped their baby teeth in gold and inserted them into our own portable dashboard altars.

We climbed up so we could come back down to earth. We shot spaceships into our own personal orbits. We didn’t restrain our celestial bodies with underwire and spanx, we let them be improbable and in motion and recognized them for the live butterflies they were- impossible to pin down. Everyone saw everyone else’s demons, all pointed ears and smoking nostrils and split tongues, and we played frisbee with them in wooded fields. We picnicked there, ripped leaves off the trees, folded them into origami cranes and doves and mice and delicately plopped them into our mouths with chopsticks and a little dirt for spice. All the chairs fell into disuse because no one could rest elevated off the earth anymore. Nobody took sugar in their coffee anymore. No one took their coffee.

The woman in the lavender gypsy skirt and the broken teeth gave you a surprise smile. And you were not surprised that your entire body contorted into a giant grin. These days when people greeted themselves, each meeting of lip to cheek lasted an eon and still we lingered. We were constellations, we were connect the dots, we were moving, melting rorschachs. When the girl in the dress that wasn’t maroon and wasn’t fuchsia and wasn’t brown drifted past on the mustard bicycle, we all stopped what we were saying and let the cigarettes fall from our mouths in astonishment. When the punk princess sitting at the sidewalk café in Place Victor Hugo was watching and scribbling, scribbling and listening, and the crone smiled and said something in a tongue that couldn’t fit into the girl’s ear, she just reached out to the words under the words and laughed. Kept on keeping on. Because if the pens stopped flowing, that’s how the world stops turning and if the world stops turning, that’s how we all start floating and we have done enough of that. Enough of leaving earth behind.

1 Comment

  1. Afrose, you have some killer lyrical lines, ‘…diamonds fell out until the sidewalks glittered…’ just one of my faves…

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