Ridge Ending – Curtis Eggleston
April 27, 2021
Lack of Evidence
I play for discovery, encourage the abandoned. Greatness makes for the hearts of solitary humans. In Nazaré, they introduced themselves, machetes handed. Until they turned their backs to me, I defended them as the place to where they headed. The jungle feigned unaffected as they hacked a tunnel through it. Cuts hissed. I tracked the vines’ coil-fainting to the soil, the dull collapses called attention to past footprints. Of the three of us, I was the machete-less, the one who had to pause to flaunt his shoelaces.
The waterfall was clear, the butterflies changed color, the tops of their wings teased tiger nearer, their undersides, rapids in departure. The fish resembled those of reefs, but they were of freshwater. Before I could strip, enter, refract, reflect at my image undermirror, the two raised a sharpened log and with it pinned a stingray through the sand, lifted him and pretended they could fly, saying look, nothing can impale you now, anytime you want, we own the water.
The boys were sixteen. They said I was the first stranger they had ever taken there. A few kilometers away from that sacredness, hiking back I off-trailed to take a piss, instead found a gatorade hat so faded you wouldn’t make out the bolt of lightning’s shade if you couldn’t remember it. Thorns had risen through holes in the crown. I left it there and never returned, now I tell a different story to everyone.
I lied to my teacher in Buenos Aires before my classmates came after. I misattended anyone’s lecture, toured the city alone on the promise of my headphones’ consistencies. Just because I can choose which voices talk to me doesn’t make them a familiar, to call ghost but never sire his acquaintance, that is the seed of sanity, a song on repeat that continues to offer subtleties, a story re-confessed until repentance turns regret to prophecy.
I scare up latent life out of inanimates. A bullet hole in my wall at the house at the base of Cantagalo. At night if I look past it, pretend each light doesn’t represent someone, brokenness blurs into strung pendant gems, the flaw endures unquestioned, like a doll’s missing fingerprints.
I depart protected by my unobtrusiveness. Two police shove me to a wall. I feel my under-achievements condensed into a barrel. They ask what I was doing there, buying drugs, they suggest is the answer. I respond I was taking a shower, they touch me up and down, something that always has made me feel powerful.
Few people are able to get to me. A reverend of dirtbikes worshipped their own affinities past my writing stand one floor above them. Two men to every seat, gambling their identities on the promises of camaraderie. I don’t bother them, and they’ve never betrayed me. This morning I turned out early. I let the sun take credit for the ocean’s discovery of me. There are five trees between my heartbeat and the water. That should give you some idea of how young I am. You can name everything sense if you only trace back the victories. I am a whore for lack of evidence of men.
The church rises to three needles and a crux,
long rusted green but the threat hones clear: sky
do not near or I will puncture you, tear.
I did not see the light but thunder fables the windows,
broken sound warbles through the city like minnows die on glass,
slapping wet and memorable echo sutures breaths.
Rains cleanses, acid´s must to wash church graffiti,
wooden, crane-still doors keep shut, but homeless adopt
resemblances of sleep at their foot,
to whose quiet unconsciousness, humans offer pity.
A walker too beautiful to speak to doesn´t speak, she stands
beside the reeking – skirted religion – teases the festering
she prison-guards within her, avoiding the rain by a cornice centimeter,
lights a cigarette, two drags, and flicks it through a leper´s squint where only flight should enter.
Its flame, soused on rise,
from my balcony I wonder, had it entered lit, would have sparks borne fire, and
all that comes with it, rains save solely mire,
wrote permanent graffiti, prove vagrants blank-wet and
her burned empathy,
and we are one all
while the church keeps shut
having threatened the key.