if there was something under the light

one night carl was unlocking his car downtown and he saw a star, just a single one, a speck in the twilight, no moon, a purple grey fading to black sheet that felt deep or maybe pricked and there was light seeping through, but the light behind the sheet was dying. he felt some sort of tension grow in his body, as his mind relaxed, and his thumb on the key fob tightened until the depressed button beeped the car and flashed the fog lights on his car and announced itself as unlocked. his vision came closer to his head and he got in his car. 

 

there was another night where carl was getting a glass of water in the night and he looked out his window and some odd angle allowed him to see a street lamp in the distance, and barely to him was the light, low and almost not yellow, and he couldn’t see the moths or bugs hovering about it, and how odd that the one next his house had burned out. he wished he could camp out, wait around the pole in front of his house and see someone change it, he wondered why, wondered how it was that at this angle he could only see one street lamp, the others hidden by trees, casting their glows out from themselves like haloes or even crippled rainbows of a single drained hue, but he could not see their bodies. how it occurred to him that he always felt he could see light naked, and somehow the aura was the clothing, the spread, the lighter parts of light, the less heavy, less dense part of light was the wagging shirttail or ball cap or drag of the dress. funny how light at it’s obvious center was naked, like some sort of hole in the crotch, but all else was hidden, and the groin was blinding, so much that to look was to leave with a singe, leave with a tiny temporary black hole in your head. he realized he had been staring at the street lamp this whole time and he turned away and found it hard to walk back to his bed in the dark. he felt his cheeks, turned the pillow over and leaned into the cooler side of it. 

 

carl felt like these lights were getting closer to him. he was at a fast food place that claimed it was a restaurant but wasn’t and there was a crack in the backlit menu on the wall behind the cashier, and it was shining at him, peeking through, like some annoyance, some speck that wanted him to look at it, he thought it was being too honest, or maybe light is narcissistic, or maybe he just had low blood sugar and needed food, but there it was, a fissure of light calling to him like some unexplored canyon, some cave that was actually an opportunity to invert this womb he was in, was some sort of fabric that of peeled back would reveal that we were not on the outside but the inside, that the endless galaxy we peer into was actually some outer rim, some skin, some fold or edge that fades, that to travel into the abyss of the sky would only reduce us to clouds of ourselves, clouds without rain, dust without sneeze, and that if we really want to feel, if we really want to weigh more, to stay more, to be more, it was not by expanding out, spreading out thinningly, but was by crawling deeper into the lights that approach us. i’ll take hamburger and fries carl said. what else could he say, that he wanted to excuse himself as he crawled up onto the counter, please excuse me, he would say to the cashier and then despite disbelief or resistance from the cashier would peel back the plastic, maybe crack it some more, make it big enough for his body to crawl out of this god damned or even now undamned place and feel how heavy he really is, maybe spill out onto some table in a fetal position, realizing how wet he’s been, realizing how feeble he is and then sort of just blink in the blinding presence of god knows what, just waggling, maybe wishing he could go back, scared that he may not be loved, wondering if there is a fender, heavier form of love here, wherever here was, and could there be people there, was he a people, fearing, maybe, that he was alone, that maybe he had been born, but in the wron way, in the wrong place, by the wrong thing, to the wrong thing. do you want any sauces. i’m sorry, carl said. the cashier repeated, do you want any sauces. yeah. uh yeah, three ketchup packets. thanks, he said. you’re welcome, is all the cashier did in response. 

 

on mondays carl doesn’t make it out of bed until after noon, and he was washed out by the morning just laying there in bed, and what did he know, what did he know, and there was this leaf, somehow, out the window wagging in the breeze and it kept flashing light into his eye. he was surprised at how gentle it was flashing. he hadn’t eaten all morning, and was so low that he couldn’t bring himself to raise his body out of bed and walk to the kitchen. the task seemed astronomical at this point, herculean, and he kept grabbing his phone, maybe to invigorate himself with some news or some meme or some idea that would breathe courage into his heart which he felt was feeling sorry for itself, maybe even crying or choking or screaming though his face was placid and dumbly looking at his phone. was wasn’t remarking to himself he was looking at light, he wasn’t much remarking at all, only basking in the light, light a small unattainable tan that would never take to his skin, and at times his mind would race with limited imagination, like he did as a child on a bike down his backstreets, and he would never chuckle though he found things funny, and he would feel sad but not cry, he felt a wide range of gentle emotions, nothing stirring or rousing, nothing too much, nothing enough to touch his bones, but he felt like this was a good kind of light, the kind of light that only touches the skin, and does so gently, does not burn or freckle him, does not sun stroke him, does not cook or really transform him in any way. it was a light equal to him, as bright as he was, and he didn’t feel like he had anything in it but a comparable friend, and the flashy leaf kept flashing, kept watching him.