This article is taken from Stand 231, 19(3) September - December 2021.

Amber Rollinson Derelict House
To escape from conversation, he goes to the bathroom, plugs his mouth with tissue paper so he won’t have to speak. At the table they ask him how the old farmhouse is, not knowing he doesn’t live there anymore, not knowing that the windows channel winds or knowing that storms gust through empty rooms now, dusty rooms. He plugs his ears with moss when they ask him questions he doesn’t see the point in answering. For example, what are you doing tomorrow, what are you doing later, what are you doing ever?

Nothing?

His hand melts into the air around them, but no one’s noticed except him.

What’s the difference between – he begins, but no one seems to be listening.

After the meal, he tumbles over fallen bricks and potholes to another place entirely, an empty temple, a fallen farmhouse where he might have lived at one time or another. But he is not himself now, he is older. This land is no land he’s seen before, this house no house. Comfortable at last, he buries himself in rubble and tattered fabric, old furniture and carpet rolls. Someone might dig him up in the morning, find a toe or elbow uncovered. Or frost may fall like a net on a snared rabbit, set to concrete over him, set entirely.

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