Saturday, September 17, 2011


NOTE: This is the start of something that was itching in my brain until it finally had to come out. May add more later.

The rattle, I sense, will be fatal.

But I have been wrong before. There have been other rattles, other aches, other bouts of blindness and deafness that have come and gone, cured on their own or by the messages that came from the sun-kissed shore.

There is a rock nearby. It is small, roughly the shape of a hen’s egg. Pocked with holes, smelling of wet dust, alley dirt, pencil shavings, beach sand from a high mountain lake.

I see the rock. I have not seen the things it looks like. But I know them. Those on the sun-kissed shore shared their knowledge with me, and during the long, dark passages between the planets, I have perused the golden record, listening to the sounds of a place I do not know.

I see the rock. It is close by. It seems we will be bedfellows for a while. Its course is roughly parallel to mine, deviating by millionths of a degree. I see the rock. It will be my companion for perhaps a minute, a minute and a half. That is a long time, in this neighborhood, at these speeds, in this darkness filled with dust and shadows and light.

They discuss me, those of the sun-kissed shore. They talk about me as if I am not there, as if I am not listening. Once and a while, one of them remembers where I am, that I do listen. I hope they feel embarrassment. It is rude to discuss someone’s fate when they hear you but you think they do not.
An horror of great darkness.

And when the sun was going down, Moses wrote of Abram, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo; an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

The sun is going down.

I feel the sleep approaching.

The horror of great darkness. I live in it. I and the rock shaped like the hen’s egg.

A hen. I would have liked to have seen a hen. I saw sea-birds, mostly, where I lived briefly on the sun-kissed shore. They fly and scream and fight and search out things to eat. Sometimes the rockets strike them. I watched one. I watched one soar, then strike, then fall.

I would have liked to have seen a hen.

They do not fly, hens. Oh, they fly in a panic. They may make it to the top of a fence, to the top of the coop, but they do not fly great distances. They are ground-dwelling birds. And when the sun sets, they do not face the horror of the darkness. They return to their roosts, their nests, to lay the eggs that resemble the rock soaring through the darkness beside me.

When they rattle, the end comes cleanly, a chop of the head with an axe.

This rattle, I sense, will be fatal.

There is no axe here. No axe. Only rocks and dust and atoms, atoms, atoms.

I do not fear atoms. There are atoms inside me, feebly producing electricity. Heat. Heat enough, perhaps, to hatch a hen’s egg.

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