I’m going to fly south for the winter.

These were the last words she said to me. I don’t know what she meant by south. I guess south means down, looking from the perspective of someone left standing. That’s how she fell—down down down.

I didn’t react. Not at first. In fact, I was out of myself, still standing there, judging the newfound distance between us. Another barrier that separated us.

There wasn’t one of them in the sky; the birds, I mean. It was summer, some leaves the color between spring and autumn. I’m not sure how south the birds go for the summer. Maybe they drop down, dead with heat. The world seemed to take on a new shade itself, as if an outline now surrounded it, and I could be reach out and poke holes in the atmosphere, and crash reality down.

I didn’t reach out, though. I couldn’t handle the fall. Instead, I shifted in and out of this reality, warbling steps on the precipice—always sideways. When I stopped, so did the skyline, now broken by the soaring specks.

Once in a supermarket, a woman’s child fell out of the basket. They all have hard floors, don’t they? Carpets stain; I know. Wouldn’t have mattered. No blood. It was before a holiday, I recall, maybe the first the child would remember. I doubt she thought of anything else, then all of a sudden nothing else. I wanted to cry when she did. But I didn’t have the courage to cry with her.

I didn’t have the courage to die with her.


They’ve bloomed in orange for the first time. I’ve received more last words. Postscripts, perhaps in media res. The dreams are like premonitions. I’ve had them before, but they never mattered. I’ve never cared about any of the disparate aspects that come together. That’s when I realized these particular dreams were about death.

She wasn’t in them, but she hung over them, turning her head before alighting on another shoulder. A chirp, a chirp.

In most of them there’s a man there—different men?—covered in dream gauze. Professional-looking and professional to a fault: afraid to show emotion. We go to our places, they turn her jewelry around until it touches the dying sun, pushing pictures against my face until we kiss. I don’t know the answers to their questions, I tell them, but she knows they’re trying to guilt me, trick me.

All the dreams end with her freezing up, still-eyed, and falling with the sound of leaves.

Something happens by my hand.


There are no more colors; everything merges with the white. My premonitions turned out to be simply fortunes. There were events, but as in all things, my life had little effect. All funerals are voyeuristic except one’s own.

I’ve gone to the places again. Our places I can hardly recognize. Only now I saw how harsh “our” is. We didn’t share them. Let it suffice to say that we inhabited them.

All the barriers had blended, and I wasn’t so sure of my steps. Where I go shall it be snow, or will it be air?

Nothing black tends the sky.


The color’s returned and so has she, but still I don my scarf. She alights on a tree branch and beckons. Wherever I step, my foot has met the earth.