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dorm scene before the last act - west ambrose



There’s a kind of violence in every new place; a new set of hands and a new mirror to paint over with bright red blood. A new set of glasses to shatter, a new stovetop to burn. A new coat rack to throw Misery at, missing the hook, discarded in a pile with tattered beanies, dangling wires, and mourning shawls knit from the coarse spun wool of black sheep. A new black-box stage with no blocking directions. A new pair of strangers to enact the trials of Wittenberg:

A kiss

(THE ACTION OF UNDOING

A PARTING OF FLESH

THE CUT OF BREATH INTO BREATH)


YOU

Is there any point of despairing at this hour?


THEM

Is there any point living in a world that would prefer you dead for its own ease?


YOU

You don’t know that.


THEM

I do. I have always known that.


YOU

Do you know how pretty you are when you sleep?


THEM

I know the velvet casket’s embrace. In dreams I have already attended my own funeral. My father’s and my country’s. Everyone’s but yours.


YOU

Why spare me?


THEM

I never said that.


YOU

Then why tell me of your plans?


THEM

Because I like you so much. I like the way you take my rambling and turn it into fresh, white snow on the first day of winter break. I like your stack of books that hold up crooked table and chair legs. Your scent of old chamomile and worry. The way you feed sparrows. The way I can’t fathom your quick aversion of gazes, the steeple-chasing grins that slide into grimaces.


YOU

What would you have of me in another life?


THEM

The culpability of bliss. The bliss of a new place every night; hotel rooms, passenger seats, and sprawling meadows with only a slice of the moon to reveal what’s left of us. The slam of each door behind us. The screech of the gas pedal. The trampled petals in our tempestuous wake. The destruction that blooms pale and quaking as violets in Spring.


A pause. A push of cool metal against pulse.


THEM

I suppose there’s no happiness without novelty. And in this, our fierce and unraveling newness, I’m able to glean the future for once...


YOU

Then why go back to where you’re born? Why pack valises to see your old kingdom?


THEM

Why play at being a man? Why wear the too big shoes of a king? Why fall in love with anything?


YOU

Why keep the image of a lover that’s already dead?


The blade grazes the skin

(THE WOUND IS MADE

TO REMOVE WHAT AILS YOU; SPLINTER, SHRAPNEL,

SHARPNESS YOU STEPPED ON ONCE, CARELESSLY.

THE WOUND IS WHAT RELIEVES THE WOUND.)



West Ambrose is a writer and grad student. His twitter is @westofcanon and his website is westofcanon.com where you can find creative works inspired by antiquity and classic lit. The website, westofcanon.com, is also the home of the Crow’s Nest and HLK Quarterly, an opportunity for the folks of many/any disciplines with interest in nautical and seaward things.

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