OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 1
The Dark and Folded Thing
There is a man walking down a road.
With his black clothing, he could be a folded umbrella.
A folded umbrella is walking down a road.
The tiny hooks of its claws extend beyond its wings:
now it is a bat folded silently into the eaves of a barn
full of farrowing sows, shifting only slightly
among the gentle sound of piglets clucking milk
from bristling teats. There is a darkened silhouette
that is walking and hanging and leaning in the corner
covered in droplets of rain. When it spreads its wings,
there is an audible snap, and a secondary patter
as droplets spatter and it lifts away, teetering on invisible wires.
The rest of us pause to watch it rise:
neither cinder nor bat nor man.
Just then I think to raise my bow and notch an arrow
that I send hissing to the buried center of it body
and it closes into itself like a singed leaf and falls and
keeps falling past the clouds and the trees to the ground
where we glimpse wet light trickling from the wound.
The painting hangs motionless in its gilded frame
and at first no one notices the slight shift in the light
It is still fruit, draped cloth, and cut flowers in a vase
Then one blossom nods and a tired petal falls – there!
Each flower in turn begins to lose its crinkled eyelids
The peaches piled on a rush mat melt down to pit
as the fruit blooms pale clouds of hairy mold then
collapses into a hunkered mass reeking of cheap wine
Let the window gape and count the wasps that come
hovering anxious as a headache sensitive to light
Watch them burrow whole-bodied into the wet flesh
fevering after the easy sugar, tunneling into the softness
Listen to the gallery begin to thrum with the hush
of so much venom and let your mind go still as stone