the first time I listened to Jupiter sound waves on the internet
I saw myself from a great distance as
a solitary beam of light flaring
in a dark suburban street
the other residences curtained and sombre
in this aching utopia
that is not paradise –
someone I know says their recurring nightmare
is of waking up to find a huge new planet
in the sky
nearly close enough to touch:
as a spinning ball in so much unconquerable dark
the Earth is ridiculously easy to finish off
I took a step onto the ice; cracks flowered under me.
‘You’ve got to be lighter on your feet,’ said the elk.
I looked ahead: nothing. Up above the moon smiled meekly, an unfinished disc. Far below it, the glacier, ten feet tall. I could see myself reflected in it, a smear of mortal colour.
‘Do you know who she is?’ the elk asked.
It gestured to the distorted girl in the ice.
‘Someone I’m not,’ I said.
The elk looked at the girl in the ice and gestured to me. ‘And who is she?’
The girl said nothing. Nothing buzzed in my ears, a gush of white-dark energy. The elk seemed distant, silhouetted against the unending grey; the sky white but streaked with flames of orange, red, pink. Skies shouldn’t come in that colour.
‘Anyway, you’re not the dream. I never dreamt this.’
The elk blinked. ‘Then where did I come from?’
‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘But you’re not the dream. And neither is she. There was another girl.’
‘What was she like?’
‘Not like me.’ Dispirited, like the moon. Cut in half and bleeding stars.
‘This is a lie,’ I went on. ‘It’s stasis, suspended in air.’ I pointed to the glacier. ‘If I look hard enough I’ll see the strings. This is not a dream.’
The elk raised its head serenely. ‘How do you know that?’
‘You can never talk about a dream without confessing something.’
The girl in the ice opened her mouth wide and became a cave. The elk stepped inside, decaying now, an amalgam of old fears. Its voice was soft. ‘You won.’
I watched its back recede down the long swirling hallway. The energy hummed, then subsided.
I took another step and the ice was firm, but when I looked up the sky was cracking.
Anuja Mitra is in her second year of a Law/Arts Conjoint at the University of Auckland. In her spare time she enjoys going to the movies and eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Her writing can also be found in Signals, ex-high school yearbooks, and countless journals stowed away somewhere in her room.