Expressed Powers Kristen Leigh Schwarz /ks/
Toxic optics must be revised. One, then another, then another: paint roller down-left, paint roller down-right. Not to obliterate the subject, only to inform its reading. Moving down the row, expedient, she divides and subdivides each face. Down-left, down-right. His nose the point of nexus. The wind whips up, hot and dry and smelling of diesel. It is bus wind. This is good. A bus means eyes to see. Sprinkler head sound, blade on rock sound, snake sound. The original x sound, the one the ancient Greeks coughed out while fighting gorgons. Look, but don’t look. Toxic optics.
Exiting the booth, he knows what everyone must know — the experiment went soft. They’ve taken what the Greeks made and boiled it too long. As he passes the table, a woman — exasperated, exhausted — shrieks at a poll worker. She shakes her mail in one hand, fans her cards, her official faces, in another. A young man at her elbow speaks quietly, crisply, trying to reset the situation — trying to explain. Behind her, the line. Out the door, the line. Down the stairs, the street, the line. How long will it — how long can it — stay a line before the lines start to cross?