Empire of Light
We walk side by side down a dark street, the houses dotted with windows of yellow light. A
street lamp glows. Above us, the trees loom, bowing their heavy heads together, but above
them the sky is blue, day-bright, spotted with white cumulus clouds. I stretch my hand to you
and you take it, smiling. You are warm. I lift your hand and press it to my lips. "What time is
it?" I say and you say, "Does it matter?" Maybe it is night—I am
so tired. But there is all of that blue sky that makes me ache—it does not end. We could be going out or returning home.
We could be lost. You are untroubled, calm. We wear the clothes we wore the night we met.
We pass a house playing The Cure, "Close To Me"—the one where they are locked in a
closet and clapping as they sink into the sea, the box filling with water. A couple dance in the
window, ignoring the quick beat, they are dancing slow, so slow. A child squeals in another
house, running down a wooden floor. It is not our daughter. Her pitch is different. The girl is
laughing, as if she is being chased by someone she loves. You say, "We are almost there." A
bird cries out. The air turns cold and smells of plants, damp earth, of upturning and settling. I
kiss your hand again and it is not warm anymore. You walk faster now, as if you cannot wait
to get there. You begin to run. I do not let go of you. We are rushing, racing, airborne and
shot through with light. Our breathing is loud and fast. We are on the brink. We are a blip in
time and space, nothing compared with matter and history, but that does not diminish a single
thing about us.
's work has appeared in Wigleaf, SmokeLong Quarterly, WhiskeyPaper, Split Lip Magazine, Forge Literary Magazine, FRiGG
, among others. Her story "It falls" (Jellyfish Review) was recently chosen by Aimee Bender for Best Small Fictions 2018 (Braddock Avenue Books). She lives in Australia. In addition to her website, you can find her at Twitter