She woke up, said, “I gotta get coffee,”
and left. It was that way with her. She could be so distinct in
her habit, her world, that each time she went for coffee she left
a limb in his bed next to him. That was all he saw. An arm. Or a
leg pressed against his hip or shoulder. To her she left a lasting
impression of her heart. Or her heart itself as it lay there still
beating. She was just taking her liver and lungs for coffee. It
was morning. She had to go.
They became along this bisection. She drew a picture of him on
her body. He spilled her name on his floor. They toured and renamed
all of the horizons, writing moments under constellations of roses.
And so they gained a little shape. “Look,” she said.
“It floats, she said.” He said, “You lfet.”
But that shape became confusing to her. “Do you mean left,
or felt?” she asked. And it would go this way, seen two ways
from the same side, and vice versa.
They woke up, said, “Let's go get coffee,” they said,
“I hear the coffee's good on the island populated by emus
and camels, and where the long-horned bull befriends the llama at
night.” And so they left. Or they felt like they left, anyway.
For leaving and feeling were that way. They sipped coffee on land
along odd rivers and banks. But as they faced only one another,
each became the other’s entirety. “The problem,”
they soon discovered, “is that the sea claims the land and
“Don't go yet,” he said.
“I cannot leave until I feel,” she said. “Or
is it the other way around?"
“Until it’s gone,” he said.
“Don't go,” she said.
She woke up in the middle of the night, said, “These tenses
are so filled with tension,” and dismembered herself in his
bed. He wrote backwards: On. On. While the nights became sawed in
half, separated by two fisted blocks of sleep. He lingered in this
gap, perplexed by the existence of cities he did not invent. She
lingered in the laughter of another language, articulated in the
personal present tense. Though not her own. Thus, impersonal.
She said, “I’m not present.” He heard, “I’m
not pregnant.” And replied, “I, too, have never penetrated
my own heart.”
The trees outside him were stationary and looked like a painting.
Inside, the city became mile-high and grew like a disease. He whispered,
“This proximal distance. A city.” While she tested her
limbs to see which would float. In buckets full of water, she dunked
her body-parts. She said, “They’re rotten.” She
said, “They’re unripe.” In the water, she saw
not herself, not her limbs, but something she may have forgotten:
No. No. Something he had forgotten. As left unspoken. Another tongue.
He woke up, said, “I know these tenses float and feel, but
I know not what name you go. Goodbye,” and left. It was the
way he worked. He made casts of her and roped them from the stationary
trees outside. She dangled from the branches imagining her reconstitution.
“What shape of me will stay you?” she asked. But he
couldn’t feel her, for he was gone. Or he thought he was gone,
anyway. For thinking and leaving were that way.
He woke up, said, “Hello,” to her empty shoes at the
foot of the bed.
She woke up, said, “How do you spell?”
He woke up, said, “L. F. E. T.”
Waking became falling as this felling became them. She became both
bucketed and hung. He became both tenses without a present. The
trees were submerged by salty seas. And the cities became him. Distant.
Underwater, she grew odd limbs on different parts of her body. And
from her heart, another arm extended into the darkness and reached
for things she couldn’t name. She asked him, once, what names
things went. He replied by building seven walls on a landlocked
She woke up, said, “Come here. Come here.”
He woke up, said, “Go away,” and tossed a pedal boat
out the window. Odd sounds were heard as the city slept.