A couple of questions. Can memories be captured in shabby snow-globes? Are redistricting impulses aligned with the dysfunction of certain honey strains? Alfalfa. Buckwheat. Clover. You aren’t sure which direction to go, or how best to lean. Some of us are mythical beings who walk on all fours, defying biological classification and hording our protozoan impulses for use at a later date. Even those who walk upright have plant-like characteristics; broad leaves covered in waxy ciliates and arbitrary veins composed of a milky white substance.
You find one of these creatures has fallen to earth in order to use your knee as a pillow. They stablize themselves on your shoulders while getting dressed in the morning. Some of her traits are more human than others. There are fresh scratches up and down her arms and chips of paint embedded into her skin (if you want to call it that). You help her eyes scan across the page, “Most of us read from top to bottom.” Left to right. Back to front.
The two of you walk through a landscape of semi-abandoned strip malls and freeway underpasses. She describes the paradox of gravity, “Floating is overly restrictive and dependent upon the schemes of urban planning.” The bank buildings have flat roofs and house ATM stands, but little else. A filling station is a discarded shotgun casing. Abandoned paper cups are caught in some kind of slow moving and unseen whirlpool near the entrance, which appears to be locked. You say, “Now that you mention it, floating, that has a certain ring to it.” Other structures—boxy, monochromatic—are non-descript and seem to be waiting for a car chase or explosion to occur. But nothing happens. It is a bright sunny day, but there are no shadows in the areas where you would expect shadows should be. Even the streetlights are out of whack; they blink on and off in a haphazard fashion, there is no rhythm or logic to these transitions.
After many hours, you arrive at the ocean. It is dusk. The creature you walk with lurches towards the water, but the water does not rise up to receive her. Small, invisible particles are present in overwhelming numbers. She says, “They are signaling. They want us to signal back.”
You raise your hands and begin an awkward, counterclockwise circular motion. After a few moments of this, you switch directions. You feel these announcements are eye-catching and should garner some kind of response, but the horizon just sits there—pink and white wisps of clouds floating lazily at the periphery. You say, “Transformation is not the same thing as renewal.” Can anybody help you? You put your hands back down.
On cue, the creature morphs into something else. She seems more human than before (you think), but she does nothing to validate this impression. She is a quivering mass of parallel rows, disconnected and levitating, but somehow maintaining connection and balance. She wraps her form around you, until you’ve become temporarily (or permanently) fused. It is cold one moment and then warm the next. It is dry and then moist. Your own body divides—conjugates—and then reconfigures. You’ve become temporarily aware of your own shape and size; unaligned, unrecognizable and the byproduct of some mysterious, chromosomal rearrangement. Night has fallen and the tide has come in somewhat.
You’ve stood here, in this exact spot, on countless nights, but this is the first time you’ve witnessed any bioluminescence. Comb jellies, crustaceans and arrow worms have shot to the surface of the water, emitting a distinct yellowish-green light. The light pulses from one end of the beach to the other. A car pulls into the parking lot above you and leaves the engine idling, until almost imperceptibly, the headlamps dim.