Prose. We may not like it or we may desire it. There are people to whom history doesn't—which is on another level to say, does—happen. Charmed or cursed, they walk among us. They recognize each other. For them, life won't cross between sun and shade. Stays in. Remains out. Never a diagonal line across the underground ocean behind the smile. Never a cleaver blade to the block of wood absent from the mind. The threat happens. A fire across town. A woman wakes with snakes in her belly. Flame in the palm of the personal. But, for them, never the swerve into oncoming traffic; experience. A letter intended for you delivered by accident to a stranger who brings it to you by mistake. Experience. Gun the torch, cut loose the bags of sand. Blind fish glide in the gulf stream behind the eyes. The edge of an open lip, some nameless pressure creates the shape of a mouth. Imperceptible shifts. Intelligence: the sure push inside a bloom. An instant. A moment.
These people might be lost. Sailors. Painters. Waiters. Misery, excess, poverty, elegance, sheer drapes in the breeze or 30 grit sandpaper patch on the eye. Or not. No matter. There's enough spit at the seal. Touch of fingertips dipped in candle wax. They think they're born free, condemned. An aquarium sealed and submerged inside a larger tank sealed and dropped into the ocean. Everybody staring at each other wondering which side of which glass they're on. A blank page darkened by its nearness to flame. Slow crawl of sunlight over the other-smoothed side of brushed steel. Textures of pleasure, the face of a silver coin rubbed near smooth, smell of verdigris on forefinger and thumb. The way a living thing freezes and then makes a necessity of needles out of any approaching heat. Form. [End Page 143]
Ed Pavlic’s most recent books are Visiting Hours at the Color Line (National Poetry Series, Milkweed Editions, 2013), But Here Are Small Clear Refractions (Achebe Center, 2009), Winners Have Yet To Be Announced: A Song for Donny Hathaway (University of Georgia Press, 2008) and Labors Lost Left Unfinished (University Press of New England, 2006). He lives in Athens, Georgia.