Eileen R. Tabios & harry k stammer

Planet M

Turn left and you’re on your knees. You’re raising your right hand to a long-haired lady, a platinum ring topped by a 3-karat diamond pinched by your trembling fingers. She’s widening her eyes to drink in your marriage proposal. You both will live happily ever after. Turn right and you’re tripping over the hem of your monk’s robe. You catch yourself and continue striding into the dim entrance of a stone building. You exit into the monastery’s interior courtyard where the light is blinding as its walls bask under a noonday sun. These situations—and many others—are offered by the glass walls bordering the paths through which you navigate this planet. Your own body is not involved, just the avatars presented by mirrors. Your race has depended on video screens and selfies for so long that none of this is unusual. What is unusual is when you trip non-virtually and smash your face against a mirrored wall. You are shocked when you feel your brow sunder and the escaping blood paints the walls around you. You raise a hand to feel the warmth of ichor though your veins are not a god’s. You look at your bloodied hand and notice how it’s become the same color as the smears on the cracked mirror facing you. For the first time, you notice Planet M, the world of mirrors that’s evolved around you. You notice how this planet lacks aroma. Perfume has become extinct—once upon a time, you’d favored a lover’s scent of refined citrus accord and geranium as exalted sensually by smooth woods, bourbon, dark patchouli, black amber and cashmere musk while emitting subtle notes of orange, ruby red grapefruit, Mandarin, geranium, bourbon, and dark patchouli—but you don’t know how to weep at the disappearance of fragrance. You don’t know how to mourn evaporation. You only know you created Planet M from sitting too long at the counter of “One,” a bar where each patron must drink alone.

previous page     contents     next page


Post a Comment

<< Home