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BlazeVOX [books]
Cleaning the Mirror
by Joel Chace
(BlazeVOX , 2008)


I’m humming because the air is soft with humidity and though we’re wearing our winter coats I’ve opened my window. I feel clean. Down feathers slip out of a hole in my coat, single file, and flutter around the car. He turns on the radio. A voice is clarifying: You don’t own the brick and mortar of your home; you own the equity. The car engine grumbles.

To my right the street is a collection of lights, brick and steel. “I just need you to tell me,” I insist. “Just say, what it is...” He reaches out for my hand and my body relaxes, my waist presses against the knobby stick shift. I begin to see a curtain wall, a parapet with a walk behind it, a short gatehouse. On the far right is a bell tower with a small, rounded window. I can almost make out the bell shrouded within. Low clouds cluster around the tower.

“I’m not ready to get married,” He draws out the final word, “anymore.” He reaches across my lap and rolls up my window. A muffled air rattles the glass.

I take his hand, limp and moist. I touch the Braille of his fingers, squint up at him and then back out the window. Now I’m sure what I thought were clouds is actually smoke emerging from the tower- wispy arms grasping for the low, purple sky.

Too suddenly I realize the castle’s outer curtain is a densely barbed wire fence, the spires are electrical posts.

“Wait,” I say but there is no waiting. The factory is before me now and in a blink of yellow pooling lights, behind me.






r. sima harris