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What Remains
by Trent M. Walters

A moving picture stilled:  how the reservoir looks after a hard rain:  a place where mosquitoes breed disease:  the surface scummy with the brackish backwash of three counties in one basin:  the kind of scene seen in mysteries:  before the main characters walk on stage:  The first shot slowly fades from our imagination as we enter that space between known space, between scenes, between happenings, which our consciousness connects:  it processes the forgoing plot entanglements if given enough pause:  without enough, it fades, loses focus:  the night before too hazily recalled:  wild wind and rain, small agitated waves, and the muddy girl, running across the levee so filled itís poised to spill its dark contents:  her yellow hat and coat fly to the water and float.  Pause.  The second shot of harsh contrast flashes bright on the early morning calm and pans to the fisherman, whose oar bumps... whatís this?  Ah yes.  The body:  the immediate and immaculate evocation of loss though we never knew her:  the beauty that passed through horror and drained into beautyís past.  We fish the horror out:  From whom or from what had she been running?  Or to whom or to what?  We seek an end to the horror, but we also seek the horror itself:  its nature:  where it lies:  if it lies within us or our neighbors.  The man-made lake is quite different from the lake we knew before it swallowed her.  The lake is placid:  the cat who ate the canary is still the cat, lazing about in the sun.  But the essence remains.  Life always leaves a clue behind.  A hat.  A coat.  A flurry of yellow feathers.  The body of a girl.  The bloodless remains but for the bloody gash at the throat where some creature of night desired the secret of what made the girl girl.  Even after the shucked hat and coat waterlog and sink to the bottom.  Even after the wind whisks the feathers to heaven.  Yes, to all but more besides.  A taint.  A residue of flesh remains.

From Raven's Editor:
Raven's Runes: Equations in Time

Trent M. Walters tends not to quote ravens--especially the electrified ones. His work has appeared in the Golden Age SF anthology, Electric Velocipede, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, BSFA's Vector, EOTU, and Pindledyboz. Trent's poetry chapbook Learning the Ropes is forthcoming from Morpo Press. He is the poetry editor of Abyss and Apex and a member of the dailycabal.com. (Photo by Tom Sweeney)


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"What Remains" © 2007 Trent M. Walters. Used by permission of the author.
Raven Electrick © 2000-2007 Karen A. Romanko.