People of the Mist 8


7:35 AM

… the sound of dry cactus trickling through a rain stick imitating rain  as it falls from the clouds to strike the forest leaves … rain … steady and  heavy … from purple clouds … water fills the scorpion’s underground nest … Alacrán emerges and  knocks at the dreamer’s door … go away, says the dreamer … tail in air Alacrán minces down the balcony and onto the staircase … now his carcase dries on a stone in the sun … when the rain ends, black ants emerge to pick at Alacrán’s drowned body … they carry him in bite size chunks … up the thin crack in the apartment wall … back to their nests … life goes on … many are called … many are chosen to be victims or assassins … who knows who will be chosen … and for which role …

“Heal yourself,” cried the sánate bird, drawing his knife blade over the sun-warmed stone outside Tim’s window. The trees in the courtyard filled up with sparks of colour as their leaves lapped at his balcony. A butterfly, yellow and black, shook delicate wings, and dangled, at the end of his floral string. Soon the bird of paradise would close its eyes and go back to sleep. High in the sky, strung out like a line of washing in the early morning air, the temples of Monte Albán basked beneath the sun as they dreamed of their former glory. Cloud shadows walked across Tim’s wall. Tourists on an endless train from there to here to nowhere in particular, white clouds stared at Tim from a pastel sky.

Tim loved the sparrows. If he left the apartment door open, they would cease their squabbling and fly down to his balcony from the red-tiled roof of his neighbour’s house. Fearless, they would step through the opening to see if he would throw them some crumbs from his table. Sometimes, they would fly right in, perch next to him on the table, and pierce him with their inscrutable gaze.

Ah, would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as these sparrows see us, Tim used to think, for sparrows dwell among the blessed and it is written that not a single one shall fall

The sánate kept winding up the day with the whistle of his call and dogs barked on the azoteas and in the streets. A warm wind walked through the open door, ruffled Tim’s hair, and climbed out through the kitchen window with a last wave of the palm leaves. This was now his life: to sit here before an open book while black ants crawled their predatory letters across the page and tulips and carnations performed a slow dance in time with the sun’s rotation. Tropical fruit sulked in a basket on the table. The great wheel of the sun had risen over the rooftops and sparrows hopped, dogs barked, and the sánate dragged once more the long thin knife of his tinker’s cry across the sharpener’s grindstone as a rooster crowed his thick rich morning cocoa rico.

the breakfast orange lies racked on the plate …  juices flow like blood … a blood orange … rising like the sun from night’s mist … and now the orange … lifeless … a pale yellow robe spent and exhausted … fading in the sunlight … the wasted disc of a worn-out decadent moon … a lantern with its wasted light cast across a tabloid sky … a still life this orange … its life blood a sacrifice … thick rich golden liquid … as fierce and sweet as sunshine on a branch … 

Tim blinked, went into the kitchen, and looked for the mescal, but it had all gone. The absence of the yellow worm’s slithering crunch beneath his teeth was the ultimate sacrifice. He stood in the doorway, shivered in the sunshine, and mourned one more among his many losses.


13 thoughts on “People of the Mist 8

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