the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Kristina Marie Darling

The Cello

On nights like this I would play my cello, the snow like tinfoil under a
phosphorescent moon. Before I knew it, you were there, with your handkerchiefs
and your melancholia. The light on my windowpane, a struck match all aglow.
We would take turns cradling the instrument's long neck, its cavernous belly,
watching the cold metal strings shiver and hum. After each chord you'd swallow
glittering nerve tablets, whispering: Be still. Be. Still. Its sonorous voice faded
with each blue pill. And when the snow eddied and slushed, the cello safe in its
towering white box, I took up sainthood to pass the time. On winter mornings my
teeth still ache.


Les Fenêtres

We drive to a window factory and traverse its rooms, the summer night pale as
the steeple of a church. Behind each door, you dust locks, turn hinges, dragging
your signal flares and your phosphorus glow. A yellow light catches spots in each
pane as we count the saints on dim clerestories. Soon I ask, one word at a time,
mouthing into the watery dusk: Est-que je ne suis pas une fenêtre? You turn
from the work, appalled, our reflections like sand burning into glass. A porous
moon stares through the doorframe. The locks say nothing.



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