Trapped light sags

Trapped light sags on the window sill draping shivery aluminum dross drifted from the saline attack on the bleak sash. He is low to the ground, musters a creaking flake of breathy sigh that tosses up the powder, and we wave it down from the silvered light of the arcade ceiling to our shadows on the concrete and the threshold. It tracks into the lit room on our boots behind the palsied streaks from his wheels.

He, parked at the feet of the beds in the dark, is already sweating. The silence of the air conditioner below the window and the desert itself marked by the echo of raven wing beats and the absent hot obscurity of the night sky swallowing the ravens so that the dark corners of the room pant with concussion of the wing beats. We too overcome stumble to our knees and adjust the knobs until the hammered metallic blizzard of the air conditioner silences the universe.

We trundle him into the rift between beds and the tracks stop. In the lavatory over the vanity we skitter on a fluorescent light, in the room turn off the remaining lights and move the doubted bedside lamp to the table in front of the window. He turns to the window from the far bed, atop the clothes, and curls up a cheek in half of a sighing smile. At this we pull the curtain open beyond the lamp which is silhouetted with a milky corona. He turns to the other side bringing the bedspread behind him.

He is asleep terribly and with commotion that draws the room into it and is more violent or alive than his waking languish. We leaned in chairs by the window which was dark and had nothing of the chalk court or mountain border with the sky. His breathing parodied the drowning man as best saliva could replace black ocean. The biles of his spiteful sleep flow from his mouth in dreadfully copious tides until a glint of the vanity fluorescent sparkle caught breath ripples in the pillow reservoir threatening to then consume his nose and mouth.

We quickly strip the adjacent bed and bind him on his back with bedspread, topsheet, and sheet in horsewhips that divide his body into four parts. The thick bedspread across his shoulders also dams the beige mud that flowed still down his cheeks.

A buzz deeper than the air conditioner precedes the arrhythmic sputtering and second guessing to light of three mercury lamps bracketing the court. The light shown on him who looked arisen from the sea by the lipid lassos of bell-shaped jelly lanterns. We turned on the lamp filling the window that stood like a sunlight raft on the winter grass of the chalk court light still emboldening and ultimately hid them both behind the curtain panel swung wide into the room.

We see in the refrigerant dew a room filling with fluid. The snoring and the closed-in dimness send fingers hooking through our bindles for small phials of acrid ruby wine. We rub the tincture on our gums and Fluxroot in solution into the soup of his mouth then sink into the chair, feet on the near bed and spin in the moan of the air conditioning. Our vision turns flesh-colored then brown and mosaicked. The floor is magnetic. We press against the carpet and slide the bible from the drawer under the bed to see it black, like a trap door or the cold stone fundus of a curling cavern. The pages are obscure and further into the brown grain of our vision. We know some lines, there are many rooms, this valley of death, but any pattern broken can bolster the most lonely paranoia, and the pages are too dark to read. The three restraints tucked beneath the opposite box spring seem to breathe.

It is a bad night. We gravitate to pieces of furniture that are damaged with laminate or veneer that flakes away. We can’t stop the racing thoughts about flaws and failures. The little defects grow and we let them crumble into powder. It is brushed from the credenza to the carpet, or from the table to the chair arm to the carpet steeped in condensation. We pick the edges of the table with our nails. More powder forms mounds that congeal from the rehydrated glues. Enough of that, swollen by the moisture from us could grow to fill the room. We would like to be pressed out of here and excused. The blemishes of sawdust paste continue to grow like calculi. When his pulmonary effluvia lap over the weirs of sheets and pillows it will catalyze a smothering tumescence of this fake little house for certain.

We haul the mattress from the empty bed into the wall and trundle the wracking box spring to the portal that lets onto the WC and seal ourselves into it. We fill the stop and fill the sink from the tap and mix our remaining tincture into a solution which we sit near on a luggage rack breathing deeply. The cool vapor prickles finely with electricity and with the touch of cool bathed skin in the air that transports it to our eyes to be absorbed. A weeping rose sheen emerges from the grain of the vanity to lubricate it in the glistening jelly of a marbled meat. We had not detected it until our palms skimming ‘cross it seemed to be smoothing down the muscle tissue on a flayed man, tracing fingers on wrinkles that won’t comply. We quiet down to the mirror image where veils of brown cold vapor trickle through the quilting of the box spring. Where there is water the desert can’t creep.

We take a washcloth into the basin and let it soak the pale rose the water is dreaming. We use the long coarse bath towels to bind the cloth to our noses to breathe and salivate and drown straight from its kiss and punched into stars by that warm sand we sleep, exhausting the shower curtain, enameled and alone sleep.

Smothering dreams trap us back to wakefulness. A ring pops loose on the shower curtain above a tug. We reach out to anything in the stall bobbing and listing. The air has too much cold refrigerant in it to breathe. We kick down the box spring gasping. The lamp is out. Outside that jade light is on for a few moments and his eyes are open moving slowly to decipher a memory puzzle between two paintings of running fences and mountains inflecting, looking right beyond us as if the drug had disappeared our shapes and maybe we filled the room like gas. The lights in the chalk court buzz out to a frequency that carries them off beyond our understanding to gift dawn by a bit with some valley darkness. Below the buzz of the lights a wind had arisen that beat the window in long strokes.

We let open the door and the wind takes it flapping at an odd angle to the casement against a sand drift and is drifted still by sand fanning up from the concrete quickly. Sand moves into the room and is beneath the matted floats of carpet nap in gritty dander. We look at him and he sees something else in it that is causing him to moon. We turn on all the lights in the room clockwise from hanging lamp over the table back to lamp in the window. He has fallen asleep like a moth subdued. We pull the door shut and with it half a small dune is cleaved and dissipates across the threshold. We begin setting the room aright as the sun rumbles distant impressions of light against the back of the mountain range. The near door bed is reassembled. The soiled linens go in the tub. He is moved like several pillows to the stark bed. Those inundated linens go in the tub. We turn on the shower to its singular force at this hour. Really what else is there to do? We flush several pages of the phonebook down the toilet and turn on the television. It is snowing. He gets in the chair somehow and we make tracks.



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