E. M. Schorb

What the Dead See

Here the darkness is bright and reflective, like patent leather, so we see things in it, activity, passing scenes. I suppose it is a little like being in Plato’s cave, but there is nothing behind us, only more of the same. What comes and goes here is tantalizing: that is, one can almost make it out, but not quite. Lights on the surfaces of the darkness expand, elongate, shorten, and shrink to pinhead dots. One strains to make out what is there, for one craves things, real things, the kinds of things we left behind—furniture, vehicles, flora and fauna, waves of water, waves of sunlight, motes of dust in a sunswept room with yellow walls, fountains, toys, tops, bargains in a basement—but all we get is illusory, phantasmal, vanishing, suggestive. I see a reflection on the darkness and think shoe and horn. Sometimes, just to be elaborate and inventive and creative, I think: saxophone. I name a flutter butterflies. We all do this sort of thing, I think, make things up. It helps us to remember what it was like before we became stone. I think we are coal here, but how can I tell? The darkness glitters, that’s all I know.