<Look at yourself, they have names for faces like that.>
cavity fills with a hiss of shadows, spits out ribbons gravid with spliced word-images. unsettled, he lifts a finger to his nitrate eye, unable to see anything but silver-tints, a darkness that elongates intent. a red camellia florescent, what were once his lips, now hers alone, slowly unfurl their changes. <I don’t know. How can you know a thing like that afterwards. I don’t know anything anymore> say the petals. he doesn’t know this voice, but her gentle weariness inhabits a strange tongue with slow beatific warmth. a cold-blooded creature come home to dream, to forget. at the table, the other doesn’t seem to notice, mouth moving but silent, the nightmare of the ventriloquist’s puppet, a process with no purpose. in the cinematograph of her fancy are thousands of strings cascading from the ceiling. First taut like new skin, they slacken, drifting down, feathers in a divine parade. scattered and stripped, for a moment she thinks them to be rachides, a collapse of bones, the Perseids; a shower of undoing, seraphim to skeletons. the other’s upper body tilts forward without warning, cut from, now muted. face to table, wood to wood. with the stillness of celluloid luminosity she regards their individual possessions. <Except that I want to be dead too> says the new mouth, distant from her body.
[from your lips to god’s eye, says Mouth.
is it not ear, says Eye.
no, says Mouth.
they have never needed our words.
what we speak is what they see.
it is only we who do not.
oh, to be in their image but know I cannot divine, says Eye.]
<Well, I find myself in a state of mind where I can’t see myself.>
he watches the tendrils of her new eyelashes. I, he thinks. no, she. <She’s very similar to me>. eyes close, then open in acknowledgment. no, we. upside-down and backwards, the eye remains. me/目. <That kind of feeling … I want more of it.> the conspiratorial communion of he and she, where every lash is a match, each eye, a possible fire. he applies with the purpose of an arsonist until his gaze is concealed in smoke; looks down between his legs and laughs. if you blew the smoke away there would only be ashes in the mouth, he thinks. in their shared mind she looks up lovingly and says everything is for burning. smoke/screen/signals. the s curls around him like a night animal for warmth: fur-tinged, voluminous. he withdraws while she takes her place in his eyes. within the mirror she winks at himself, hears a familiar strike and flare; the scent of sulfur dioxide rising. from their reflection she says that little fires tend to infernos under the skin. she only lights his eyes so like her, he might see. <We both have bad imaginations. Have you sinned?> he looks at she, ablaze. with a breath that catches passing flames they whisper: I have burned down both our houses so that we might be.
Quotation sources (all quotes are in italics/chevrons)
Mouth: The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949)
Eye: Funeral Parade of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969), also trailer for same