Issue 130, Spring 1994
Inventing Space and Time
No definition tells you rooms exist:
touch them too hard, too long, and like mimosa
they close against a stem so sightless green
that only darkness can help you bring them back—
those rooms stacked in your head, now, like children’s
blocks, packed across the lines of memory
as if they’d grown there, deep in your brain, waiting
for your hands to find them, out in that other world.
Your eyes found them first, traced them, fixed them
with neuron nitrate on dendrite plates, set them
forever, in black and white, in color, etched them
skull-sharp, mind-hard, framed them like X rays of bone.
And then, in darkness, walking slowly from one
to another, you found an ancient connection, a corner
you knew, now changed, vividly new, visibly
old, different at night. Nothing defines
the difference, tells you a wall’s been covered, shows you
lines that weren’t there, shapes that formed
as you watched, as shadows tracked them and your eyes opened
and shut, surprised that no snapshot emerged, only
a room that wasn’t there before, a picture
of space you hadn’t walked in. You walk in it now,
exceedingly slowly, hoping the image you follow
will hold, wishing the dark was light, yet knowing
vision’s a limited grace, and seeing with your hands
is safer. Let your fingers explore. There. And there.
And there. All over the silent room.