A rising creature spreads its shadow over hushed land. In the moment of folding its wings, all air leaves the world. All things now operate by friction, stridulation, rough surfaces in contact with abrasion, materials unlike silk or plastic, the working of ground teeth and jaw bones.
In the blacksmith’s forge, an alchemist sits away from the fire in a clouded spot, observing those transforming states that move from hard to soft, from dull to radiant. From trees a presence emanates, as thick as wet moss and mud. Birds move within it, their shapes only visible with closed eyes.
At night, people sleep with covered ears, their dreams haunted by the footsteps of giants, the slow movement of hills, cracks opening in the earth to unleash insect clouds. Houses lack windows, yet light penetrates, if only to mark daily transitions between stillness and movement, heat to cold. If there are bells, they are heard only in memory, as if buried under silt on the bed of a fathomless pond. To sit quietly is rewarded. A shout is impossible.
Every month a door is opened, simply to change the air. This opening may take many hours, the door hinges resistant, anguished, uttering secret words that only the very old and very young can understand. At each opening, a wooden cart enters, another leaves. The ox that pulls one cart looks sideways at the horse that pulls the other, their gaze as deep as the silence through which they pass. As the trembling of the ground subsides, the world returns to itself.
Written for the release of The Universal Veil That Hangs Together Like a Skin, Lee Patterson & Samo Kutin, Edition FriForma, 2020.