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92

Elenkova/ Dunne

SafetyValves

WhenIseehowtheairdirectlyoveracandleturnstoliquid, howthe airoverasphaltwhenhotalsoturnstoliquid, howthe seainthesunrecallsheatedasphalt(somesayit’samirage), I understandthesetears inme, downbelowlikeatree’s peeled bark, upabove like a prunedvine, are actually fire, which combinedwithairmakeswater. Only highupinthetree-tops, thecrowns, wherethebreezeneverceases, onlytherearefound clouds –white or grey stratus, or a heapof fire andwater combined.

TheSeventhGesture

With finger on mouth, when you do not want to wake someoneortheteacherwalksin. Heputsa fingertohismouth whenhewantstoquietentheclass. Orhetellsyoustraightto shutup. Butwhatintriguesmemost isthewayitslidesdown, pulls away fromthe lips. After you’ve imposedthe silence. Somejustloosentheirhand, othersdrawitouttopoint, others hold itlonger likethis.Andafoldinthefingers,blissfromthe tiredness of theunwontedgesture. This is howtheByzantine iconographersfirstpaintedthem. Thesaints.

TheLegendofNarcissus

Everyeveninghewaitedfor her at thewindow. But heonly ever sawhimself andleft. Till onedayhedecidedtowait her out andstoppedwaiting. Leaningover thewater, heflopped andstartedswimming. Notlikepeoplewiththeirheadabove waterbutlikefish. Hecameupforaironce ortwice, a dolphin or awhale, andthenhe sankfor good. Witheyes ever open inside the looking-glass. The rest carriedonlearningabout evolution–howcreatures emergedfromthewater ontodry land. Therestcarriedoninterpretingthelegendof Narcissus.

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