• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 05
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The Ceiling

It began in the Atlantic current, its dependable, meridional sway
stalled, like libido, just outright stalled, and a giant swath of cold
dense water congealed off the coast of Greenland. We were too busy
to notice anything happening off the coast of Greenland, but an ache
began to make itself known in strange, intimate ways: a drinking glass
burst, a crack in the mantle, the silverware turned in new directions
inside their drawers. No one was in control anymore, so kissing became
a farce. Even then, no one expected what came next: the great shelves
of ice, the walls and jagged caves of it, flipped the earth, or at least
what we could see of it, the polar caps taking their places in the sky.
What I mean is: there was now a ceiling of ice, and we could not adapt
to a ceiling, even when sunlight streamed from the end of a tunnel,
since the tunnel was the sky itself, we were doomed. There remained,
for a while, nostalgic places one might go to replenish: National Parks,
islands, fields of wheat. But we could no longer see the stars at night,
and even the moon slept beyond the ceiling. I had a feeling it went on
forever; we didn’t anticipate the role ice would play in the whole of it,
the entire briny universe. We began to burn all the paper we had.
And no one said things like reach for the sky or the sky’s the limit because
now it was. And even when we grew brittle with cold, we would not
hold each other. Instead, we dreamed of the ancestors of other species,
all that perished under different conditions, but so often without view
of the stars, be it cataclysm or asteroid. Under the ceiling, all desire
exited, and we took up the tools of self-preservation, which is the end
of pleasure, and it became too much to pretend that what was happening
between us wouldn’t end and end suddenly.