Atlas and Alice - issue 6

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Atlas & Alice | Issue 6, Spring 2016

3. You long to move freely, go to the bathroom, do laundry or read books without death staring at you. You wish death would, at least, blink.You feed it pastries.You nudge it down the hall so you can open a door.You squeeze it under the sofa so you can vacuum. When company comes, you hang death in the closet. It slips off its hanger and interrupts conversation, cranky, wanting attention. You apologize for death’s rudeness, hang it up again, secretly stroking it like a soft old cloak. Mornings, everyone reports death traveled through the house all night, opening closet doors, reading diaries, slipping like silk into dreams. 4. You hang death on the front door. It knocks loudly all day. Neighbors complain. You stick death in a kitchen cupboard. It leaps out every time you get a glass. Stuffed into the junk drawer, death tangles extension cords, bits of twine and paper clips. Melts candle stubs. Coupons become too soggy to use. You wrap death in blue tissue, pack it in an unlabeled box you put in the basement on the special occasion shelf by Christmas Ornaments, above Halloween Costumes and Easter Baskets. When you leave, death howls and moans in the dark, making everyone nervous and crazy. 5. Desperate, you take death to the attic. It spreads out, floating, rippling like a frisky parachute. Death loves it here, with baby clothes and velvet dust and moth wings. It glides like a smile through the rain and light that streams through holes in your roof. All day while you wash dishes, or scrub the tub, you hear death bumping softly against rafters. At night, in your sleep, you feel death wandering out, singing through all the restless stars.