This story is part of a larger piece still becoming. For the stories lost inside those who have forgotten…
I know of only seven objects in the solar system – The boy carrying a leather bag of noises that sounded like war. The craters he left behind in his absence. The explosion from the gas stove in November. A smile left at the bottom of a photograph by a camera that slipped from Papa’s hands. A baby boy lifting himself towards the eye of a hurricane. An old man peering through the outside of a keyhole. And the wave that washed his mind away.
The man, the uncle, the boy, the life set adrift, sits on the other side of the keyhole under a sky that is cracking beneath the weight of his mind, inside of a body that is collapsing. The humidity in the air smells blue, but he cannot remember if his sister is still alive.
His body a catalog of histories locked in the twine of skin he forgets are his fingers
and there are no stars tonight.
Two shining eyes pass him by slowly and a car engine revs music into the night. The composed life, the subtle dream, the unknown staccato story, rumbles into the dusk about love and touch and the sweat that writes the caress. Words that seem to come from the belly of an animal.
How touch can spell
on the skin.
Something he does not know to be true or untrue, as he cannot remember the last time he has been touched or has touched and suddenly the tips of his twined fingers seem to be slipping away and he feels like a map of closed windows.
His heart is a house burning and he remembers the night his father melted into ghost in an accident at their family home, when the camp stove grew angry and did not give warning before washing his father in light.
His mother would tell people that her son
That her son and other children we have lost, died for a noble cause.
But he was still here, sitting on the other side of a keyhole where his sister had told her children, his nieces and nephews, not to answer the door for he thought the world was dead.
He tried to look through the peephole imagining himself a little star, but could not remember how this sort of thing worked.
September 27, 1932
has always sounded like rustling paper, tethered to the slick hide of a dream. My goodnight, Uncle.
Could not remember who he was yesterday or what color his eyes were or if his sister was really dead. But he is of the Father, you see, and can only be cured by the rain. But the cross will not save him now.
These skinnames are speaking to him, and he is sure that his sister is dead, for he has been standing outside her door for breaths and breaths and can only hear the sounds inside of children crying.
They must be ghosts. Last words, he whispers.
Presses his lips to the door.
Mother daughter sister brother father fire.
The rain begins to fall.