Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sole Survivor

by R. Welch

You remember the moment with a clarity
it would take a new and better language to describe,
though not much after.
Just the long falling.
10 or 15 seconds of heat and light
and then, this void,
whose edges you've yet to discover.

Witnesses report you left a
trail of blackened feathers as you fell.
The long plume of smoke hung in the sky for days
as if the arc of your descent demanded a stillness
even the desert dared not disobey.

No one found the place where you lay,
in an arroyo, just beyond the charred reeds.
You ate insects.
Chewed lichen off bits of bark
and drank from a pool of brackish water
until those who came to rescue you
packed their vans and drove away.
It was on the banks of the vanished river,
beneath a cobalt dome of falling stars
you came to understand you were alone.


in the basement of some city whose name you can't recall
the detritus of your former self
rises from the floor in shapes that resemble
teaspoons and lampshades.
Tricycles and Tupperware.
But this is an illusion.
They are the cast of shells of a family of cicadas.
They are the bones of all that might have been.

thousands of miles away,
you have groped your way from day to night
and back to day.
The healed fractures have left a limp
And the burns have scarred your skin to a fine leather,
dark as coffee.
And you like the color!
You think it suits you.
You have fashioned tools from sticks and stones -
future fossils for the next age to ponder.
In fact, you picture all you see as a site
swarming with scientists, gathering their evidence.
You leave what clues you can.

Here is the crater where his body must have hit the ground.
There is the burrow where he slept
on this pile of petrified rags.
They will wonder how it is you came to this place.
What made you stay.
They will wonder how it is these things happen to people's lives.
How they soar. 
How they shatter when they fall.

1 comment:

  1. This could be a companion piece to the Therapy Session story. This does a good job of capturing that moment when life bitch slaps you but good. "And you like the color! / You think it suits you." Brilliant.