I knew we had lost everything when the celebration spilled over into the next era
and the speeches sounded like everybody praising everybody for doing everything right.
We had never been in deeper trouble. We had never been without our enemy. That left
only us to be the enemy.
That’s how our religion works. The winner always forgives. We come to the rescue
with such certainty it makes us right again. That’s how we stay ahead of the inevitable.
I remember the year I was best at dying. They all knew I was a fake, but a nearly
dead man who could still come out to play and was always willing to lose was the token
no one had to cash.
Let’s say it was Dried Onion Junior High and in my head I was taking the place of
something I had killed. I was unshooting a partridge. A turgid atmosphere of righteous
Right now we see it as one more success and no one says it’s time to stop because
we achieve this happiness by declaring victory before it’s over. We’ve defied our own
years of struggle and we’ve deified the sunset. Tomorrow isn’t another day, it’s another
yesterday, and the story’s all over again before dark.
Don’t ask what happens next. No entrance to any heaven, just a slow drag across
the ridge like coal dust, streaks of soot clinging to the trees like tiny insect casings.
Where has the creature gone?
So good-day to my vertical. I might be ready now. Everything needed to put things
together on one table, everything to take them apart on the other.
Each of them may be thinking, “Your tumor was benign, but you were not,” but
each is saying, “Trust me. I will lie to you faithfully.”
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.