It was a fast-forward / pause / press play night when fawns dotted the sky, curled in rest, pooled in dreams after a full day of post-postmodern frolic; we considered leaving the ubiquity of expected cradles empty, lacquering them instead with my ennui and regret. You can’t force horns or antlers on me, he insisted, he pouted, rubbing other already extant parts of himself on ready tree bark. There was no unraveled velvet, no cushiony remnants, no scatter of youthful dust. His flesh took on all the ruddy shades of alarm; he grated himself with greater fervor, chafing in lusty abandon until blood began to well. Stop, I kept saying, but the word gelatinized in the air every time. I couldn’t tell which of us were causing that, but it looked like a different newborn baby with each iteration. Crimson and mauve continents rose from his skin, breaking from it, bobbing into existence like newly inflated balloons. They took to the sky, bumping the sleeping fawns as they rose, rising until they settled into the firmament, not quite as constellations or planetary bodies or anything we’d call familiar. His body expatriated all it could, his coterie of stellar children, where they’d pinned themselves high in the sky but still lurching into the upper atmosphere, drinking whatever oxygen were there – like fawns over a lake of mirror-glass water broken only by the ripples of their instinctual lapping. What remained of him in craggy residue and foamy spit floated up to meet them, where he nestled among them, sanguine at last, in a satiety he’d never expected or known before, purchasing him a quiet fullness. I kept saying Stop, hoping one of the musty juice babies in that shimmering, sticky word would become more than apparition, escape interstice, or crash ephemerality. My open arms were waiting, not necessarily empty. None of them did.
Karen Lozinski 🔈
The Man Who Didn’t
About the Author
Karen Lozinski is a New York City native who lives in New Orleans. She’s a writer, poet, artist, photographer, and musician who earned her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Her photographs and artwork have been in multiple shows and are widely published, and a selection of her music photos is included in Can’t Be Faded: Twenty Years in the New Orleans Brass Band Game from the University of Mississippi Press. At work on a novel and poetry collection, her writing appears in Talon Review and Scapegoat Review, and is forthcoming in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.