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Larissa Nash

October 29, 2012

Cosmic Love

Today I cover the walls in blue cellophane. I pretend I am from Neptune. I forget what I did yesterday. The faded chair in the corner is the distant Sun.

I am alone. As I smooth the cellophane, it whispers in a familiar tongue. It speaks of synthetic rubies and silence. Atoms like red raindrops. Chemistry.

Decay.

There is a skylight: I can feel the moonlight. There is someone here, listening.

“Are we underwater?” he asks.

“Yes,” the cellophane rustles.

“Have you seen a dog?”

I am alone. It is quiet. There is no dog.

There is no dog.

* * *

“I think you should befriend the ghost. He can rattle your charm bracelet and keep you company.” Chloë gently pulls the silver frog on my bracelet. The tinkling sounds like the warning clank of kitchen knives. Chloë smiles at me, but her pale eyes seem strange.

“Charm bracelets don’t rattle. Besides, you keep me company.” I dip my paintbrush into the nearby bucket. Saffron has asked us to paint the front door red, for good luck. She seems ill at ease. At night, she paces the room and palms the doorknob, but she knows better than to open the door.

“What do you think the ghost does during the day?” Chloë twirls a silver tendril of hair around her finger and dabs at it with her paintbrush.

“I don’t know.” The ghost is opaque: a shadow with dark circles beneath dark eyes. Late at night, he calls out to us. No one speaks to him, but his voice haunts me.

“Do you think he can open the door?” Chloë asks.

“I don’t know.”

* * *

Today the cellophane walls remind me of marshmallows. I am alone. It is quiet.

I pretend I am from the moon. Orbiting gas giants echo across the stuffy room. I cannot feel my heart beat. I know he will come for me.

“If I were you, I would paint the door red,” he says.

I am alone. It is quiet. There is no door.

There is no door.

* * *

Saffron presses her palm into the wet paint, turns the doorknob, and walks into the void.

“Should we follow her?” Chloë asks.

“No. You know what will happen.”

Chloë toys with the silver spaniel on my charm bracelet and peers at me through hooded eyes. “Do I?”

I suddenly feel uneasy. I’ve forgotten the outside world, but I can recall certain sounds: a laugh; the strum of a guitar; the turn of a key; the tap of fingers upon a keyboard. “I remember another room.”

“Do you?”

“Let’s follow her,” I say.

“Don’t leave me,” the ghost whispers.

I turn toward the familiar voice, but I find my own shadow, dim in the bright light streaming through the skylight.

I look back at Chloë, but she is gone.

* * *

I am alone. It is quiet.

I pretend I am in a padded cell. The red paint on the door bubbles in the pre-dawn gloom. I feel as though reality has shifted. Why am I here? What has brought me here? What keeps me here? Will turning the knob burn my hand?

Late at night, I hear Chloë and Saffron. “Come with us,” they whisper. Sometimes I hear a dog barking very far away.

The ghost keeps me company. I can almost feel him rattle my charm bracelet. The tinkling sounds like a passing streetcar.

Outside, it is raining. The droplets drum against the skylight. Tiny atoms like silver waves. Strange music. The unknown.

What is real? I only know that I am alone.

Larissa Nash is an alumna of Loyola University New Orleans. She currently resides in the dusty, neglected outskirts of Austin, Texas, where she attempts to appease the fickle rain god with daily haiku. Larissa often participates in Francesca Lia Block’s online workshops, and her work has appeared in Dinosaur Bees, Fortunates, and Red Poppy Review. She is the founding editor of Rose Red Review, and she hopes to pursue an M.F.A. soon. Please visit her at: http://www.underwaterlily.org

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Allie Marini Batts permalink
    October 29, 2012 1:21 pm

    I love, the measured terseness of the lines, and how the lyric nature of the narrative is harnessed in each of the vignettes. My favorite lines, though are “Atoms like red raindrops. Chemistry.” So much meaning, packed into 5 scant words–the perfect five words. This piece is remarkable, for its poetic beauty and for its quiet, subdued atmosphere. This is a piece that stays with you & haunts you, like a ghost, or an echo.

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