Man Found Dead in Graveyard
Ashley Farmer

The iris, says the newsflash, is a thumbprint. When I rub fists to eyelids I follow a river down a blank tunnel. Reemerged, I'm unspecified in an unlit town, atop a hill, washing myself in a river of irises. (I fingered that flower once, an iris. Split the petal across my thumb like skin on skin and never touched one again).

From a friend, I received a sketch of a face: Have You Seen This Man? The man who shows up in dreams? The same man materializes behind thousands of lethargic eyes. Dreamers come forward saying they recall his gaze, he's their ex-this/that, he's maybe a man they used to know. They flash his photograph.

When I dream, it is usually this place, ready-made: a hill I inhabit, with room for someone unexpected to wash up. Sometimes we build rivers together, hand over hand pushing water through a blank tunnel. Or we pinch the petals off flowers, counting. A small act, just dismantling blooms on a hill I know.

With my eyes closed, it's not my place to say who belongs where. Man on map. Man with hat in hand. Man Found Dead in Graveyard, said the newscast. His corpse splayed like a serious star. Amid flowers, I imagine, amongst moonlight, that perpetual bluish cemetery hue even in daylight.

They didn't say whether the man's eyes were closed or concealed with a hat. I picture some gesture of sleep: hat over face, mouth agape, maybe hand concealing eyes. Like a man who didn't collapse, but lay down. Knowing which tunnel to follow, catching up to our resting eyes like a river.

Ashley Farmer lives in Southern California. She has stuff in or coming from DIAGRAM, Abjective, elimae, Gigantic, Juked and others.

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Detail of photo art on main page courtesy of Brian Hathcock.

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