We held the little children in our palms and traced our eyes over their sleeping faces, the ripples undulating beneath lids. When we woke them, they said, “We now understand the nature of light.” Later, we fed them, for it was with a kind of horror that we realized they had not been fed for days. That we had forgotten. That time had haunted us in starts and fits. And that the old kitchen was filled with rotten food… The little children moved over the stained tiles with a gaunt grace, as if balanced on a thread. They climbed to their highchairs and said, “The black hole, saturated in darkness, will unseed its luminosity. The people with telescopes will look high up and say, ‘Holy Shit!’—for where will this leave them in their easily damaged skin? Their eyeballs that can only accept pinpoints of light?” It was then that the little children lifted their small spoons to their even smaller mouths.
We each had a plate of food in front of us and our hearts should have been glad. But out on the precipice, something stood awkwardly. And the breeze, benign at first, took on a smoky tinge. Linda had been telling everyone about the trees—their thick, cleansing groves, the hum of their recesses, their canopies’ din. And how one day they pulled their branches into their trunks and then pulled their trunks into their roots, where they remain, so that now the under-earth is thick with their dormancy. And she told us of the birds who had scrolled the sky across their iridescent backs. How everyone watched them lift the sky higher and higher, until both birds and sky vanished. We sat with our plates before us, thinking about what slept beneath and what hovered beyond sight. From the corner of our eyes, that awkward something began to fall. We pushed our plates toward the center of the table in unison. It was our first refusal.
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KIM PARKO is the author of the book Cure All (Caketrain Press, 2010). She writes, draws, performs, imagines, and is generally interested in the blur rather than the distinction. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband and daughter. Day by day, she is quietly getting her crone on.