circle upon circle

Written by Emma Flynn
Art by Gryffyn M


THE GIRL: we’ve been here before- circle upon circle

THE INSTRUMENT: loop upon loop

THE GIRL: should i tell you a joke?

THE INSTRUMENT: yes

THE GIRL: a joke- a joke. what is a joke?

THE INSTRUMENT: a story. a collection of experiences. a tale with no end, loop upon loop, circle upon circle

THE GIRL: what do you want to know?

THE INSTRUMENT: what you want to tell?

THE GIRL: there are often dreams. i sit and wait for them to come and watch the world through the veil of my eyelashes. one flesh- one heart. a silence that chokes, that burns.

THE INSTRUMENT: the dreams

THE GIRL: torture- horror. beautiful catharsis in her wake, divination (prophetic whispers— sweet and honey-filled), bathwater in my lungs. my head is held under and i breathe through the burn, her grip is tender (bruising, violent) upon my neck, her hair is like honeysuckle

THE INSTRUMENT: is she murderous?

THE GIRL: sometimes. but death holds no finality (a door, a door)

THE INSTRUMENT: (a door, a door)

THE GIRL: it is sweeter still, the ripple of her mercy. the curve of her thigh, butter, soil, and teeth upon my spine. the tepid water below, the yellow ceiling above

THE INSTRUMENT: what is the worth of a soul?

THE GIRL: does she have a soul?

THE INSTRUMENT: maybe. maybe not. i will never know, you will never know

THE GIRL: do you have a soul?

THE INSTRUMENT: vice versa

THE GIRL: latin (a door, a door). it’s funny, dead languages haunt more than dead people

THE INSTRUMENT: the fathers of latin say god killed his son. they say he was the snake of sin, the father of monsters

THE GIRL: that’s wrong. they say god banished his son, and that he was once beautiful

THE INSTRUMENT: (a door, a door) there is no difference

THE GIRL: and eve was born of adam’s rib, where the bush always bore fruit for her and the garden always cradled her and the push of love always bruised her. the snake of sin offered her (a door, a door)

THE INSTRUMENT: her love was a fickle thing

THE GIRL: love has the taste of death to it. we were born to love, we were born to die. to love is to not be made whole from the half of another- love is far more violent than that. it’s to make yourself the half to make the other the whole. eve wanted to live, not to love

THE INSTRUMENT: there is no life without love

THE GIRL: yes there is: a long one

THE INSTRUMENT: does the woman in the bath live? does she dream?

THE GIRL: i don’t know

THE INSTRUMENT: how can one live without dreams? how can one dream without having lived?

THE GIRL: i knew once, but now i don’t remember. remembrance: rosemary. memory is a sicker thing than love; it warps the mind, it steals the soul

THE INSTRUMENT: and what if we have no soul?

THE GIRL: if we do it is the memory (a door, a door). it is the circle, it is the change. it is the garden and the going and the son and the sin. it is the rib and the woman and the sweet juice of the fruit. if we don’t, it is just as before: the woman and the bath and the drowning

THE INSTRUMENT: how can something steal and be at the same time?

THE GIRL: paradox: latin, god, love, sin

THE INSTRUMENT: i don’t understand

THE GIRL: how will you ever? we weren’t designed to be bigger than ourselves, to think beyond the drowning. you always ask how i drowned, never how i came to be in the bath. we were designed as eve and her doner: we live to die

THE INSTRUMENT: i can be taught. anything can be taught

THE GIRL: not everything. some things must be solved alone

THE INSTRUMENT: like what?

THE GIRL: what makes a door a door. what makes a god, a god.

THE INSTRUMENT: and the woman in the bath? who is she?

THE GIRL: god

THE INSTRUMENT: god has drowned

THE GIRL: there is no difference 

THE INSTRUMENT: we’ve been here before, haven’t we?

THE GIRL: circle upon circle

THE INSTRUMENT: loop upon loop

THE GIRL: and what is the bath? and what is the woman?

BOTH: a door

THE INSTRUMENT (alone): a door