These Things Should Never Be Done Except in Case of Emergency

Cara Lang


We chug along, the sun rising like a paintbrush dipped in orange, fiery hot. Stacks of wood and other industrial materials teeter on the banks. Water. Waves — are they waves? —  ripple calmly like someone stirring in morning's first hint of wakefulness. The sunrise leaks into her calm body, mixing like paint. Purple mountains in the distance. Navy blue too. And clouds pink and white and deep diatomaceous gray. Swing low sweet shipyards. Bright sulphurous piles. Trash and refuge and more stacks of fresh cut lumber.

Above cars traverse the bridge, the sun still rippling through the sky. Have they yet seen her bright tidings this morning? Perhaps they'll catch a glimpse in their side mirror as they change lanes or make their way around some blind-eyed corner.

We keep moving and the sun keeps rising until it is almost day and we are somewhere else entirely.

Before morning bleeds into afternoon my leg will come to a slow stop in a familiarly foreign city. I will wrestle my suitcase down from up above, and then step off onto the platform. The door will already be open. Someone waiting for me in the station. They sit on a wooden bench with their head between their hands. I wonder if I’ll recognize the backs of their hands or the top of their head. Wear a flower in your hair, I should have said.

As night arrives across sky I'll turn my cell phone off and descend into darkness.

Don't try to force
or hold open the door.

These things should never be done except in case of emergency.

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You can read another recently published piece from her, “The Electra-Adjacent Ballroom”, published at The Ilanot Review.

FlashJeremy Bibaud