Will Hallett, The Windows


In the room, there are two windows. They are separated by a white beam. Both have little, frilly, curtains across their top fourths. One has a canvas type shade, which is lowered by a little hoop at the end of a string. This hoop dangles idly in the stream of air that comes through the open screens. An air horn beckons in the background. And in the lower half of the windows’ vision, the dusk ocean ripples underneath itself and turns purple as the sun departs. An osprey has crafted its nest in the channel marker that sits a hundred yards away. Burnt Island is another hundred yards beyond that. Small lights peck the horizon, shining out from lobster wharfs and summer cottages and poor men’s bungalows. There is a church to the right in the only harbor. Behind that there is a cell phone tower flashing intermittently. Behind you, behind the window, behind this chair, a dust covered fan blows at your back. Your hair is wet. And your back hurts from the hunch of the keyboard, of this.

In the corner of your periphery, three small crafts come out of the darkness at full speed. You take your headphones off to hear them as they scream past. It is an odd vision after sundown, and an odder sound. The fog light still mentions the fog. And after a moment the wakes and the shock of the sound settle back into silence. And the only ripple in the ocean is its own tectonic moment, settling and settling again. Your Internet goes out. Your grandmother is upset about it. The fog light sounds again. Out the same corner of your periphery you see a larger craft, some sort of metal war ship mass, come looming into sight. It’s black against the already black evening. Its engine is moaning and whining all at once. The foghorn sounds. The osprey comes hurtling out of the darkness and lands in its nest, screeching. The war ship seems only to grow louder and fast and larger as it comes into full view. You are standing and craning your neck and pressing your face into the screen. You are fascinated.

Beside the war ship a smaller craft approaches the fore. You assume it is some type of escort. Three more follow it. They spread out like scavengers and the whole procession begins to frighten you and your hairs stand up and you can hear your grandmother’s silence. The foghorn sounds. You can see the church in the distance, lit. By now it is dark enough that you cannot see the waves or the texture of the ocean itself. You know it is still there. The bow and the escorts of the procession have passed out of view. You can see the second half of the war ship passing by the window now. There are massive turrets hanging off of it, long-range artillery, a radar dish. There is a helicopter-landing pad towards its stern. Its engine is tossing up massive bits of a black, un-seeable wake. And from the distance the sound of a bomb descends upon you like sleep itself. You do not know what you are hearing until it has incapacitated you. And some inhuman instinct takes you and shakes you alive into understanding that you are in the midst of explosion. And the cell tower goes dark. And out towards the right you see bright color mushroom into being and evaporate again into blackness and then you are on your back and you can see only red, as if you were pressed once more against the shining membranes of the womb. And you feel fire. And you hear your own silence.


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