• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 08
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Before streets stir and still morning burns into restless song, Alexander wears coffee steam like a beard, absorbing leaden silence from a patio chair. As a young boy, he would wake up to mornings like this, staring into glass canvas framed in aluminum like an art patron, inspecting the still life for authenticity. He would patiently wait for a leave to rustle or a branch to sway to let him know he was real.


Under an eave, a little spider rests in a web, a miniature black buoy riding waves of wind. Each day it meditates, a solitary monk under Bo Tree. Surrounded by maddening whispers of hunger, it spirals inward to mute singularity. One day set to explode into balletic light.


Lost in thought, Annabel shines a secret glow that people sense but cannot name. Her shadow stretching ahead of her on the slant, her hips move freely, black flats clacking on pavement with graceful ease, a conspiratorial smile taking wing, a strange bird ornithologists cannot identify.


A riotous crosshatching of birds momentarily parts for a silver jet, as it stair steps toward hilltop horizon. Reflecting sunlit semaphore, guided by faith in safe landings, its wingtips blink distress, as treetops angle incisors to swallow it into myth.




Alexander swallows the last drops of coffee, encountering a baby squirrel foraging in the grass. It sits on its hindquarters, nibbling on something, twisting and turning the morsel in its tiny paws, watching Alexander as if he were a television screen. It seems to wait for entertainment, sniffs at the air, inquisitively. It approaches within a few feet, inspecting the still life, patiently waiting for movement to know if it is real or myth.