Aurora and the Storm


by Quintan Ana Wikswo


Yesterday, I walked to the edge of the terrace of the old hotel, where it begins to crumble over the ravine and what was once the rock garden, now an ocean.

A falcon’s nest savaged by the winds, hanging in strips of birch bark and gangrenous moss.

That black bird an umbrella – armature of wings upended and split back.

The feathers floated on the water, life raft for mites, then moored itself on a log, or a beaver’s corpse.

My adversary is the Norway spruce. Each needle is an antennae urging me to leap forth into the white, and swim. But I know it is the sky. I have seen the savaged falcon. I know the ruse.


I continue to call for rescue, but there remains no answer.

The need now is for routine.

In the journals of my ancestors, there would have been notes on the minutae of cleaning and repair: as their voyage progressed farther off the coasts of an unwanted home, they would have compressed themselves into the dignity of work.

A brass lantern to be rubbed and shined.

Splinters carved from the wooden hull and fashioned into boot buttons. Bored out with knife tips and threaded with string wound from their own hair.

Yet here I sit, cross-legged, knees pulled up to chin, wondering how high the waters will yet rise: the fire and then the storm cleft this place and left it bare as bone.

There are no tasks but this.


It’s impossible to talk of sadness here. Any remaining sense of self must survive unarticulated, decomposed, in shapes and lines that once formed words, but since the storm have unfurled into threads that stitch my layers together, connecting inside to outside, and back in again. I withdraw and emerge in unbounded states, with edges that cannot be marked and meanings that cannot be defined.

Where is the one who knows the questions? At night, I dream in answers – often in sunshine – the sun an orb driving pins of light into my hands, and I wake in pain. I have not seen that yellow planet since the rains.

My flesh nocturnal, my pigment secret, my sight wary of illumination, and I have the soul of a newt. The nose of a mole. A starburst of pink in the middle of what was once my face.

I beg the imagined rescuers: don’t come for me here, don’t look for me with your bright spots of dry light.

I don’t want rowboats, flares, blankets.

I want earth, pebbles, broken branches.

Stonecrop. Roseroot.


My love.