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Underground

NEAR-SIGHT E.M. Killaley She couldn’t distinguish the leaves from the trees. On closer inspection, each full mass of greenery was broken, carried by the wind into inexact arrangements of permutating possibility. She sat in the back of the classroom, where the board was a white rectangle marred by black cuts and blurs. There the spoken words were her strength, the gentle lilts of accent and tone subtle colors to be examined. The lectures drew her mind to the present, that ever-creeping monster of time. But she felt its fleeting whisper in her hands. You are here, you are now. She never saw an optometrist. The name itself was abandonment. But she listened to the radio, rode the bus, and was content. Told she was a good listener, she could always look towards the eyes of another and taste every word, like oxygen flavored by hyperbole and bathos, scent affecting her taste so that good dinner conversation always sufficed in a meal of unclear dishes. She could not distinguish an airplane from the sky, but she felt its vibrations and understood the exact language of its sound waves. Her mother tried to feed her carrots, but she hid them and later delicately cleaned her ears. She inhabited each day in sensory symphonies. Nearing the end, her sight began to shift. The fractured world of the near receded, moving away in small degrees. One day the hemlock behind her house sprouted fur from its ranches. A few weeks later she distinguished the last space shuttle rising farther from the curved world, and the clouds it pierced were fearsome, tumorous giants. She could not fathom the precision of that which was so distant; she could not breathe in a land so broad and reaching. She could not read the dials on the oven anymore. The green street signs surreptitiously grew letters, like viral white roots spreading at the road a few blocks away. Her dying mother traced sinuous words in loops and curls, but the lines of script were just that to her—lines, blocks, curls. In the quiet of her mother’s passing the tweets of powering down mechanisms for life grated on her ears, but when she left that room she would only know its place from the other end of the hallway. She passed by it five times before counting the doors to find a barren, unmade bed. The silence followed. 91

Profile for Underground

Spring 2012  

Volume II, Issue II

Spring 2012  

Volume II, Issue II