Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
The earth, at her request, released its hold on her feet. Unfettered, she rose from the University grounds no longer able to smell baked bread. The luminous realm did not approve the needed untethering. She was only allowed a partial and swift upward trajectory from a steady grounding to a new vantage point for a broader perspective. Study of the origami of dissonance and separation was her goal. The contemplation of two things, two hands on a clock departed at noon, two seams once connected now disrupted.
Severance is the science of separation. Two wet newspapers, word-ink jagged, frayed apart. The anger behind the scissor shear of a once united couple in a photograph. The torn page of: you get this half and I get this half. The shattering of children falling in a divorce tug of war.
She understood the art in the bronze cast of a pendulum, the exact point where the fulcrum of scales balance. The concept of equal but unequal measures, surely enhanced by the bird’s eye perspective. She was now master of the perch, an independent observer dressed for indifference in a gray raincoat where one can do nothing but watch bodies shred themselves or each other. She felt nothing, the smell of the baked bread of home was gone.
The study of invisible disconnectors is divided into specialty schools. The Invisible Stabbing School graduates engineers in the artistry of failing and falling.
Seismic events are studied by the After-Shock School where earthly debacles pulse outward in waves. Displacement effects are limited to latitude and longitude.
The Shadow School awards a certification in the uses of power, politics, and betrayal. These are the most difficult to master and are studied on all campuses.
From the perch of the longer story, History and Fine Arts majors study the disentanglement of society. A special focus is placed on those individuals who act as passive or active accomplices within annihilations and holocausts.
Poets study the entire symphony of Severance Studies in each of the schools and complete their studies at death.
Students of every persuasion can often measure the blood pressure against their skin.
Eerie arias of darkness sung off key can dismantle the stockiest of backbones. In these cases, blood ribbons emanate from their torsos on either side of the spine. Experience tells us, each ribbon touches a void in the human psyche and damages the soul with gunpowder.
Permanent chaining is required at the first sign of undoing. To not, knowledge is lost to the Great Maw. Then only angels can correct the dissonance to rivers, birds and trees.
The detection of ruination from her perch is like watching the oak leaves lose their grip and fall at once. She prefers the Winter view, a denuding of color on branches. She knows the pristine white aspect of snow is just a way of hiding dirty, but the clean camouflage is welcomed.
The cracks under the river are covered by ice chunks that move slowly to melt. The leisurely drip of the oil pipeline leaks its slow venom into the river. The upward painful ascent of millions of particles cannot be witnessed from a grounded torso view.
She glimpses the trout ingest the poison and observes the microscopic travel to its digestive system until it clouds the scales. Sees it lifted right out of the water by a heron who feeds it to her young. Further downstream, the salmon struggles to find its birth water to spawn but the river has shrunk and it can’t cross the new sand bar. It dies on the banks where a beaver chews its pink meat.
The current always moves. Rivers flow to marshes and then to the ocean where that oil leak becomes one with a sea lion.
The metaphysical giants who live in clouds, even higher than her current view watch the humans remediate, patch and attempt to repair the fabric. Instant communication towards understanding across the planet is a huge joke. They will descend the beanstalk soon.
Giant lenses watch as humans talk with satellites and write words in electronic pixels on phones, computers and tablets. Life is a lithium battery. All sharing is now based on a metal so rare, its composition must be kept from the Russians at all costs.
She was seeking a peaceful altitude from the gray hobbles of daily routine. Instead, the view from her roost enhanced the peccata minuta of danger to a larger scale. She now sees the zigzag of severance from several angles, degrees and points of view.
The pattern of light and betrayal is everywhere but the moon. It is not a houndstooth tessellation of four light threads and four dark ones. Her vista could not be neatly filed in a credenza. She could not cope with the cuts and untidiness of a planet in chaos and lost her place.
Before she fell back to earth, she saw the stars give light to millions of gun barrels. All her friends from University were at the Wildcat Bar drinking beer watching a basketball game.
Lisha Adela García is the author of Blood Rivers, which was published by Blue Light Press of San Francisco. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Border Senses, Mom Egg Review and elsewhere. She is a Senior Business Advisor at the University of Texas at San Antonio Small Business Development Center.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
Historian Gerald Horne has developed a grand theory of U.S. history as a series of devastating backlashes to progress—right down to the present day.
Reflecting on three monumental works of modernism—James Joyce’s Ulysses, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus—a hundred years on.
Both regulators and employers have embraced new technologies for on-the-job monitoring, turning a blind eye to unjust working conditions.