after Dolor Reumático II, Remedios Varo (1948)
You forget so easily that you are made of water, skin woven like wicker around a balloon. Before you die, IV needle in your arm, hands and faces falling away, before your weakened bladder drains in a final act of humiliation, you ask a human question: “Where does all the water go?” You cannot see the saline in your blood, an infinity of hedrons, awaiting the flame of cremation –pain will evaporate, you will evaporate. A fallen angel or alien or Amitābha will cradle what crystals are left of you, saying: “Water is all the same. What makes us different is the salt.” They will unweave your ghost in the ocean, singing: “You could build a castle with the salt of the dead, you could build a kingdom with the salt of the living – thirty thousand tears for a single body’s alkali.” And you, free of the needles and the flames, will rise alone, a new fortress full of recalcitrant clerics chanting: “There are more pains in life than salt.”
Nolan Liebert hails from the Black Hills, where he lives with his wife and children. His proximity to the Sanford Underground Research Facility feeds his obsession with dark matter, as his farmboy roots fed his obsession with herbs and alchemy. His literary experiments appear or are forthcoming in An Alphabet of Embers, Liminality, and elsewhere. You can find him editing Pidgeonholes or on Twitter @nliebert.
Photo by Roger Alhbrand