Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

4/20/2004

Home of the (part 6 of 6)

So many stories are lost everyday without really anyone trying, and no one will be able to dredge them back. Lost or sacrificed, the pieces cannot do anything but fathom their obsolescence. Which is no small task. Because, at some point, white or black will checkmate the other and all of the armies will be cleared, and the board will be set again, like a wolftrap. There are no survivors. There are only winners and losers. And yet, the state does not concede anything, any soft intent. The state makes people happy despite themselves. The state ruins stolen kisses and love, and obeys the rules it makes. Which is a small task.

Desperately, people try to show others that their lives are not, in fact, desperate. That they aren't spoilt children. And to keep a straight, non-lachrymose face while doing so. This often involves touching amusements. Touching a unicorn figurine made in Antarctica. Touching a soldier boy's limbless arm. Touching the side of a lightless lighthouse. Touching a chess set missing the black queen--the Cathars had ran out of bone, in a way it was that simple--thinking of the mother who gave up what she loved without knowing exactly why.

When ruined, one has no choice but to reconstruct everything lost, as if blindfolded. To try, at least, even if the memories are gossamer thin, almost islands, shredded maps unrelated to any territory. Because at the end of every unremembered story, there are footsteps in the broken city, and the distant pluckings of ukeleles. At the end, thousands of passenger pigeons blanket the sky, obscuring the sun. At the end, the black queen weaves a path through the smoke's rubble, the rubble's edges, the incandescent anthem, looking for a way out and home.




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(that's all, folks; thanks for reading, it's been fun. much more readable html and pdf files of the story coming soon)

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