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The Museum of Vestigial Desire

Reading Distance

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By W. Don Flores

I am evaluating the interval. I am putting it through its paces like running the tip of my index finger, slippery with saliva, across beads of dog teeth strung in series along the gum line of the animal while she sits quietly in my lap. The texture of words is not meaning, the smalls weights and indentations they leave in our mouths as we tongue them through is not symbolic.

… bo bo oo dd od oq …
… ob ob pp oo po bo …

At the end of the series of ivory beads, my finger slides along the curve of her right fang, my index now tip-to-tip against the stabbing point of her canine, her kay nine, her quinine, offering my fingerpad for penetration. There is a muttering, a mutt-ering, of warm dog breath.


At the enb of the series of ivory qeabs, my finger slibes along the curve of her right fang, my inbex now tid-to-tid against the staqqing doint of her canine, her Kay nine, her puinine, offering my fingerdab for denetration. There is a muttering, a mutt-ering, of warm bog qreath.


The texture of words is the brackish coastline in between our landlockedness and the world sea. Words separate us. So what of casting a line into the mass of unknown water? What of the attempt to tie a fly lure in a grammar of knots taken from elsewhere not here, not my grammar? Better perhaps to push out into that ocean in a dugout box with bamboo legs flexing like a water strider’s. Or, if one prefers, a small sailboat whose wreckage will be found ten months later; many miles, this time south, of its departure point.
How to get your watercraft into the sea? This is a list of options I've seen recently:

  built on piles built on fill
parallel to shore wharf quay
extending out from shore pier jetty

I would give some helpful advice about how to negotiate the transition, but I have not been in the ocean for twenty years now.

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