claire wahmanholm


I walked until the darkness thinned into a colossal panel of wires. Skyscrapers of tiny electrical lights blinking like lightning bugs. Here were the racks and racks of animal skins arranged by size—the mouse coats hanging from paper clips, the bear coats hanging from meat hooks. Here were the black garbage bags stuffed with black magnetic tape, the purple floodlight. Here were three jellyfish marked beginning, midway, end. Yards of gunnysack and rawhide. A 1:6 model of a factory, a tiny truck. Even glass-bottled solutions labeled grief, panic, despair next to enormous nozzles labeled rainwater. It was all here. I stacked the speakers and tires into a tower and climbed above the canopy, saw nothing but night. I pulled at a root that was really a wire. I un-sowed it for many miles until it led me out of the forest and into a meadow and out of the meadow and up a mountain and over the mountain and into a tundra and out of the tundra and onto a snowy coast. The purple sky was clear. I stood for many years, the wire thinning into a thread, its spool vanishing into the ice ahead.