Between The Two Lives

2017, home, nightfall

Two skins. Moonlight says, arms outstretched like an eagle; and with the same perception: “You have expanded your horizons”, “though it appears you have been restricted”. He grins, arms still afloat and I wonder what realm he sleeps in. At home, I close the bedroom door and remove the first, put on the second. Confusion settles in, as I settle into the second skin. Is it the shock of reality? How did this all happen so suddenly? I can’t make sense of this: what I won’t do, where I won’t go to turn around again and attempt to ascend; and how fast the iris becomes bleary, fogs over. The schism between basirah and blindness is too acute to think about, might just tear the body in two to dwell on how I embrace both so effortlessly. When it inexorably looms below me, I try to leap over it and save myself from tumbling in.

2019, home, morning

“I could go all the way”

My reflection looks back at me sternly, mulling over what that really means. It smiles and so do I, it waves and I wave, it blinks as do I. It isn’t real and neither am I.

The second skin is opaque, wrinkled around me, needs ironing but I wear it despite this. This used to be mine. Now I only borrow this for mindless errands in the house or when speaking to friends from before the earthquake.

The first skin makes better sense, loose fitting, cascading around me, translucent, the same hue as the truth.

Sometimes when walking in them or between putting on and taking off each skin, I am hollowed. Depending on which skin, the space is animated into the appropriate emotion: always a gradient of shock; fear; most times awe.

2016, absent, timeless

A blue finch has flown through the window and landed on a book today: The ninety-nine names of God. So today space has collected in a hologram above ground in the position of prostration. The weight of daylight has forced it there for several seconds and the glowing head is unable to resurface. Tomorrow the space is swept into the bloodstream and feigns the shape of a human choosing skin, choosing me.

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