I rise, not moving. There is no width to these spaces now. Everything is an opening. Everything careens. There is no such thing as heart or tongue. If I make a simple step here it becomes a small cage, rolling back into other cages, a large misshapen body of slots and bars. There is nothing to put inside it or me. Instead, I wait here, where the branches above the water are black shawls, all pointing the same way, threadbare and deliberate. There are no angels to speak of here. If there are any, anywhere, they are not winged people, raging stallions. They are simply pieces of different animals, collected, suspended in midair, galloping into a distance that never really was a distance, galloping until there is nothing left of them but the sound of birds being born underwater, the sound of the wind dreaming of stillness, the stillness dreaming of me.
Someone is praying a terrible prayer. They do not know what holds them on their knees is their body, their bending, one rung among so many missing. Your fingers push icons back and forth on a computer screen, reflecting you, what you might call reflecting, a life led on little squares of light. The sea swallows inside the sound of the bird; the sound of the bird becomes the sea, a digital one, static that goes on and on. Your child, too, cannot sleep. He stands at the window, as night becomes morning, trying to click and drag something he sees in the air across the sky.
You will be here too, a slab on a clean surface, a final nakedness. Days will exist without your help, squinting at their existing, at fell things, an overture of figures. New men will admire newer ones. They will shout at television sets or something like television sets. Downtowns will change. Main Streets will be crushed into the numb heat and silence of their own dead paint. What is left of us will shine a quiet fading, will shudder like a girl with fingers between her, an awkward hand up a blouse, spring and cleavage, a moaning full of chandeliers. Even now, your life bites your death's lip, parts its sleeping hair. You've grown apt at this waking, this opening and closing of doors. You will pass and pass. You will learn another way. You will speak the language of old photographs, of dirt and stone, the gray teeth jutting out of the ground. You will speak this burning across the sky. Let it hold you down.
I am a pond made of teeth and wise hair. I am a factory where men draw faces on paper plates all day long, black ink for stubble, lots of little black lines. Here is my face. I am eating off of it in a room the size of an airplane hangar. I move a piece of toast and there is my fake eye. I have a piece of bacon and there is my triangle of a nose. The factory itself does nothing but spill red smoke from its yellow eyes. Meaning: the dead have no idea who is feeding them. Yet they keep being fed, over and over. The end of each brings a new kind of starving. The hunger is another factory. It builds itself.
Corey Zeller's work has appears The Kenyon Review, The Literary Review, New York Tyrant, Caketrain, PANK, Hobart, The Awl, Redivider, Colorado Review, Diagram, Mid-American Review, Puerto del Sol, Salt Hill, MAKE: A Chicago Literary Magazine, Barrelhouse, Sixth Finch, ILK, and an anthology Saul Williams put together for MTV Books. His book Man vs. Sky is forthcoming from YesYes Books in February 2013. He serves as an associate editor at Mud Luscious Press and a social media wrangler for H_NGM_N BOOKS.