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The Glint by Matthew Franz
published in Volume 2, Issue 4 on July 27, 1995

It has been alluded to
in past conversations
discussed in darkness

the vision forming 
while you circled the body
(your compass needle spinning)

Inklings, agitation --
the voice behind your ears

The aftertaste on your tongue
the echo of dead words
lost in the vacuum

Slowly (but not as unexpectedly as you might think)
the idea surfaced, emerged
like the naming of an era
Inevitable, predestined, perhaps even deliberate 
but logic, religion, the sciences of delusion
provide no answers

Because you wished for it
wept and fasted, wept and prayed
nearly tearing your hair from its roots
Studying the prophecy
ignorant of the consequences

You failed to see how the audience was growing restless
how the language had become a mere catalog of verbiage

They spoke to hear the sound of their voices
They listened with forced smiles
and subversive laughter
impatiently looking at their wristwatches
wishing it would soon end
hoping for a distraction

But now it seems so timeless
as if it were ever different
The past erases itself
unless assigned a purpose

What is left in the world of the quotation mark?
the annotated source, the etcetera?
where  the unique
is but a black form, a shadow-puppet
tangling its strings in the wind

What has become of the comma, the period
the exclamation mark?
the unmailed letters?
the telephones left ringing?

There is nothing
but the sound  of muffled breathing on the line

The void 
has been extended
indefinitely, perhaps infinitely

These glass walls thick and clinky
(like an antique Coke bottle)
The sucking  of air 
slowly pumped from the bell jar

You cloud the glass with your breath
(though breathing has become more difficult)
wipe away the fog with your squeegee-hand
Curse your reflection in the mirror

The greenhouse-sun soaks through
warming the air
though eventually
it will become cold & quite comfortable

You notice the eyes that glisten, pierce
how they sparkle on the lens, penetrating
They melt, burst, run down the face
in the shuddering glare
like the beetles you cooked as a child
holding the magnifying glass to the sun
to focus the beam

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