State of Emergency

We’re nailing our doors closed again and spilling the entrails of unhappy birds to divine the best course of inaction. I choose to stay in bed, confident that if the ceiling falls the blankets will save me, and almost certain that those white arms will not reach from the walls to steal my breath, one cupped palm at a time. I’m a child of the Cold War, so I’ve always stored dry goods and cans, I’ve always been afraid, and I’ve always trusted superstition and whistling to see me through. The television’s broken, so I stare at my reflection in the dead screen at 6pm and 10pm, and every time I feel a sense of urgency. Last night I dreamed I had a part-time job, and because no one told me what I had to do, I spent two hours covering a vast table with dried leaves, one at a time; and by the time I finished, I had lost my keys and couldn’t remember where I lived anyway. When I woke up, the reflection in the TV screen showed white arms reaching from the wall, one hand clutching my keys, the other an eviscerated crow. We’re nailing our palms to crosses again and spilling the contents of unlabelled cans. The only way forward is to do nothing.


Oz Hardwick



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