Absence of a Devil; An Assertion


Stand closer to the shadow of the animal. Your brother is waiting.
If I weren’t a visionary, I would have closed my eyes, the dreams of clouds and a
whole lot of forgotten disinclinations precipitating while a brown velvet moth brushed his
forehead on the way to the lamp in the window and understood what he didn’t believe.
I wouldn’t have understood even the surface tension, I told myself. I would have
thought, “Am I a stone or a rabbit?”
Because there could have been several versions. There could have been thawing
northern mustaches and vertiginous white deliberations with Scandinavian accents.
Because there could have been bear leaping and flame juggling and authentic silk
roses laced to the shoes of itinerant musicians. Feeble children and cautionary tales of
delayed toasters and light sockets.
Because there could have been tiny presents wrapped in newspaper and tied with
black string that were dancing and jumping and bumping into one another, sprinkled with
cockroach pepper and measured by the distance a centipede can travel on one leg. There
could have been a revolution of goats.
And still the same illuminations whimper and their semi-Faulknerian utensils begin
fasting as if organized crime were merely a matter of organization.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened. Honor to him that chews his offerings
twenty and seven times. Whatever remains on the table is a gift. You don’t have to tell
God about it. I could have found it without any religion.
I went to the cave and I lived in the cave and I came home from the cave
which could have been the cave.
Like a dog. Like the corner of a real dog.
If I were a dream, you might have closed my eyes.
If I were a dream, I could have been digging a hole. My thinking is wet and
useless. Bloated and beginning to leak. I’m almost ready to let go of something. I’m
almost ready to come back.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.