She wrote until her eyes fell out. Then her head rolled back and her chair broke into a hundred years and she dropped like a heavy bird through the centuries, recording everything, her thick human wings invisible, but creating a stir at the edge of vision. The chair she never found. The eyes she discovered by a lake in thirteenth century France. They had rolled down the hillside, gathering momentum until they saw their own reflection.
WHILE SHE WAS SLEEPING
I. While she was sleeping, he walked alone, the loneliness turned inward, the night air cold and turning inward, while across the town dreamers rose into the air, their faces no longer their own. The light touched them, and they followed. All night they looked.
II. He thought of her sleeping. Their water bodies, their small hopes bobbing and swaying. The darkness turned inward, rushing like water toward the greater darkness within. He walked with his hands clasped behind him, like an old doctor. Don’t be afraid, he told himself.
III. In the morning, she told him her dream: someone wanted to drive a nail through her chest, but she was saved.
He taught three kinds of laughter. The first, only those born in the city could hear. It began with a sound like the breaking of glass, and grew to a roar in the spine, doors slamming up and down the length of it, the neck turning to catch the punchline and the eyes following. The waves the laughter made in the air bunched up like cars at an intersection. The second kind of laughter was soft as a naked woman surprising a roomful of people. It lived in water and was only heard at night. Fish nibbled at it and swam away darker in color and wiser. The third kind of laughter was heard only once. It killed him and to describe it makes me cry.