The things you left

The things you left behind were not talismans or fetishes or cabinets filled with stories. You left scraps in tall reeds, reflections and glances on hands; other bits of trash floated away in canals and storm sewers. The more you cast off the weaker you became. Emptied of cargo and clue to fill in your body you were bared to a vacuum and bits of you began to wander into place out of the evaporated lights of dusk. Where those parts of you had been left shameful dirt on the skin and inexplicable stains on the clothes, finding you in total a filthy collage of caked and cracked black silt in thin skins, starchy dried wet clothes, scratch marks of inhuman black blood, dry foamy crusts of ashen mucus and saliva, patterns pressed in skin, whites are red, pinks are grey, the night is bright, and every thing is on display. These are the tired facts. Facts resist causality. Somewhere along through the night they are born each after each out of the grainy night suns. Each fact is an ominous fragment of a day, long and compartmentalized in which each stands motionless before you, tempting you to lurch back toward it, deeper down to where the light cannot penetrate the sediment to be alone with each part of you and falsify the precursors to the state of you. Mysteries are useless. The things that have happened are obvious, but you have long sacrificed that interrogation in favour of motion. You beat your feet into the pavement to stay ahead of the things that have just happened, the things you have just left, until you find a spot, in the spring moments after the streetlamps are tricked into darkness and the air is a lightless silver vault sealed and timeless, lay oblivious in the seconds before dawn.

The way is marked by persistent absence. With the sea at your back there is always a looming presence. You focus on the bare and lightless whiteness. The uncertain fog moves toward you and you into it as it swirls around you, parted by you and runs out cleft into diminishing tendrils behind with more open space than obfuscation. You do not turn. You are immobile. You avoid the mesmerism of the emptiness, the temptation to isolate ghostly silhouettes, the dangers of passing time. Time passes. The milky light yields, still distant, the afterimage of a dim bedroom. You are facing a window with lipid horizontal blinds receiving and obscuring little bald light. The walls lack detail. They have a resplendent sheen that softens the corners of the room around the bed whose long side is against the wall centered under the window. Otherwise the room is empty. There are only sheets on the bed. Their folds are shadowless and tired. Tufts of soiled tissues peak out of crevices in the sheets and sag over themselves. When you travel long, the things you have left return in front of you. You back is against the damp white wall.

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