Taxonomies
10

Until Further Notice: Non-Negotiable Instructions

Wake up when you have to.

Take as much air you need.

Examine trivial details, the bubbled foam on a just-used but not-yet-rinsed toothbrush.

Eat what you eat too often.

Swallow.

Have or dwell on the possibility of sex.

Envy things but realize it is not the things you desire so much as the comfort of envy itself, the notion that you might one day have more.

19

24 Varieties of Silence

The landlord is about to pounce. An odor of sweat via sweatshirt informs you halfway down the last flight of stairs. He is in the lobby, mopping, maybe. Or red-ink-emphasizing every line of his trash-collection dogma, taped up in furious triplicate. He will speak explosively at you, incensed by treasonous acts. You set off the roof alarm. You trod upon the sacred strip of dirt out front. You will nod; your nods will nod. I know it was you, he will say at least twice as you sidle past. But in theory your fate might still be unstitched; he has not yet seen you; he will turn his back [...]

12

Eleven Impossibilities

Doctor Says I Can’t Fly Anymore Something to do with kidney strain. Now, absurdly, my feet are what move me. I look to the sky, clouded by people: executives floating to work in suits… kids soaring too high, backpacks dangling by a strap. Police officers hover ten stories up, analyzing the flow of traffic. When my neck aches from tension and longing, I return to the rippled shade of the sidewalks, which are in severe disrepair, as everyone in this city flies. I avoid fellow terrestrial travelers, who inevitably seek to combine their misery with mine. The path is dim—is cracked, unreal and lonely—but veined with a sunlight sifted [...]

7

A Few Environments

Playground next to low-income housing. At night. Modular squares of beaten rubber serve as gridlike, lunar ground. Swoop of a tubular plastic slide. Sag of a miniature plank bridge that joins a pair of raised platforms, one outfitted as nautical helm, the other roofed with a ziggurat. The vast brick cake—apartment complex—beyond. Counterfeit moons in clustered bulbs, the color of scrambled eggs, on poles.

Medicine cabinet mirror ajar. Shelves a mosaic: prescription orange, paradise blue. Twin hairs stuck to the grooved little shelf that should offer soap. Silver faucet a mounted bird’s neck. Raised drain-stopper whose ridge amasses a layer of slime. Damp jeans draped on translucent rod. Tile [...]