Whatever it was, it was swaddled in cotton, eyes wrapped in polarised glass and rasping like a sleeping dog. It carried a case of understandable confusion, packed tight with dizziness and stomach cramps, and it hummed a tune like thirst and sluggish summer nights. I was ready for its call, in the way that a forest is prepared for fire, or that a proud ship is steeled for sinking; and I reached to shake its treacherous bargain with a meeting of blistered hands. Roads rippled like remembered rivers. Sweat fell like salted diamonds. Beneath loose cotton, I felt desiccated flesh and brittle bones. Whatever it was, it was serious and unprecedented, and ice cream wouldn’t melt in its mouth. It claimed that we had an arrangement and whined like a dog as it swept its arm to take in the whole sad world. It said it was just the messenger, but I shot it anyway.
Picture Nick Victor