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October 3, 2016 by The Citron Review

by Lee Cole


The moon is a blue flame, and it burns through a thousand miles of blurred ether to reach me. It flickers in the pools of water at my feet. I dip my fingers into the light, watch it shatter. Sam is speaking through it all. He’s saying something about the fire going out. I know what he means. There are frequencies in the air and I feel myself attuned to all of them.

“I’m here,” I say, and I turn my eyes into the dark, looking for the others. I can see Colleen doing a drunken head stand for some people standing around. Her floral dress falls down over black leggings to cover her face and reveal a pale ribcage. Her legs are long and slender. Blonde curls tumble onto the grass. I feel the easy generosity of a thing like that, the lack of anything more than that, than this instance in which it happens. “It’s called Salamba Sirsasana,” she’s saying, her voice muffled by the dress over her face. “I have to stop now though because I feel like my eyes are going to pop out of my head.” Sam is holding his palms to the whirring light, looking over at me like he knows I’m on the edge of something. The pieces of wood in my arms don’t feel heavy or light, only there is the feeling of my arms being taut, of the sinew and grain of muscle being the same as the grain of the wood – the dark knots and gnarled smoothness the same as bone. It carries me, this thought, to the fire, where I let them fall, and they throw sparks. The water whines in them, spews and hisses like something feline. I breathe the sweet pine that sails over the breeze, see the spruce boughs jostling. A column of smoke is flashing and the animal in me understands, looking up at the dark faces of trees, through some archaic apperception, that the light makes a theater, that there is something very old and mysterious being played out against the lacework screen of moving leaves. This has all been a rehearsal for the real thing. The shutter speed of the camera downshifts and a flashing strobe of images trails out behind me like a wake. I see myself standing where I was, looking down at the pools of moonwater, and I see the shattered fragments of that cold star coalescing again, and all the merging presences of the unconcealed growing dark, receding into forgetfulness.

And here they are, where I said was, where my voice made ripples in the ether. They stand over me, my friends. They crouch and place their hands against my throat, touch my cheeks tenderly. They use their thumbs to peel open my eyes. “He’s breathing,” they say. “Can you hear us?” I’m here.

“I’m here,” I say. Fingers grip the back of my skull and lift my head up from the prickly grass.

The sky is washed out and the moon is black with a sea-blue iris. It blinks at me, my moon, my true north. I shake the compass. The “You are here” on the map reappears.

“Are you with us?” they ask.

“I’m with you.”


Lee Cole lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky. He is currently studying creative writing at the University of Louisville and has had work appear in Word Riot.

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