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November 27, 2023


S. Preston Duncan

In the middle of the night I am taken to an island. The figure at the helm does not turn towards me, but every time it speaks an engine of bees rises on the wind. We are pulling a rope of woodsmoke across the sea. In a circle of broken stone there is a hole in the ground. A murmur of robes raises a lantern to the vanished pitch of keening architecture. You must go down into the earth with the cattle and reemerge. As they fit an iron grate to the dirt above and the cow shakes off the dark, I am laughing in an embarrassed way. There is nothing to see. The voice of god is a fountain of heartbeats issuing from the earth. Here there is silence, a wall that moves under October. And then the ocean behind it, scratching with familiar hands. Now the robes are silent. Light flickers and stacks in great halls, galaxies turning on the pin of the island. Temples drift across the moon. I climb back up into an empty parking lot where an old woman dressed entirely in white pushes a shopping cart full of tattered trashbags into the night.