External conditions conspire to slip
along the waxy thread of your nerves
and hunker down, cathectic, in the carry-on
you keep at the ready for a flight
from the everyday. We sign off on an agreement
to accept what the senses offer: a volley of errors.
Anything to interrupt the hypnotic mumbling
that lips the inner retaining wall of the skull.
Nobody ever tells the stitch of metal vacuumed
inside a light bulb to conduct itself better.
The fear of letting too much wash past
without record is not unfounded.
It’s never too late to change tack,
drop your sensory anchors elsewhere.
Your perceptions won’t be watered down,
though you might still hold your digits
over a light source, feeling for residual heat,
and get nothing back. Too much light
will clear away the murk of shadow detail
complicating any record of the event.
Call this getting washed out. Don’t forget:
exposure is something you can die of.
This appeared in the July/August 2013 issue.
Suzannah Showler is a finalist for the 2013 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers.