You Will Be Alone for the Rest of Your Life
Rosa looks out the kitchen window, says, "I'm bored. There's so much to
do. I think I might actually be too busy to notice how bored I am."
Merrill drinks coffee, looks into the swirling black hole of his cup,
Rosa blinks. "I'm going outside."
Merrill thinks of words. He thinks of words that grow into other words,
words that look like insects, words growing extra limbs—new
limbs, like starfish.
art form / ant
Merrill gets up and watches Rosa through the kitchen window. She works
in the garden. He drinks coffee. Rosa wears a yellow dress with a
pattern of blue shapes Merrill couldn't make out when she was in the
kitchen. It's the same pattern he sees when he looks into light,
blinking out those nebulous, amoebic blotches. He's sure he's seen her
wearing this dress before.
worn / worm
Merrill watches Rosa's fingers dig through the dirt. He imagines her
putting seeds in a coffin, planting the coffin. What would grow in such
carrot / cannot
Words like rubber, stretched and reshaped. The sun comes through the
window, warms Merrill's face, one of his arms. Merrill touches the
window, touching something he can't see. He wiggles his fingers against
the cool glass.
worm / warm
It gets to the point where the word "gibberish" is the only word
Merrill feels he understands. He says the word "gibberish" quietly to
himself. He likes the sound of the word, the sound of his voice saying
the word. He feels safe understanding this word, understanding
anything. He feels safe.
warn / warm
Merrill tells himself things. You will be alone for the rest of your
life. You will be alone for the rest of your life. He says this over
and over, the sound a sudden forest sprouting. He says this until it
sounds like gibberish, until it sounds like something else, until it
sounds like something he's not saying.
And then it doesn't sound so bad.
grove / grave
Rosa comes back inside. "I want out of this relationship," she says,
looking at Merrill. "Are you coming?"
Eric Beeny's most recent book is LEPERS AND MANNEQUINS, a novel from Eraserhead Press.
Detail of photo collage on main page courtesy
W i g l e a f