NoD Magazine: Fever

A short piece of prose/poetry (prosetry?) published in NoD issue #17: Symbols. You can order issues here. Below is the logo for this issue.




We’re sitting at a wooden table greasy with navy paint discussing something we can’t seem to retain much past the point when it tips out of our mouths. The sweat from our glasses trickles toward each nick and dent on the surface. Our eyes roll downward and we noticed the floor is checkered blue, no, it’s solid blue. So are our shoes. Cerulean whispers in our mouths and then the growing echo of pressure tells us we can’t breathe in colours.


It’s a diner we’re sitting in. How does the pizza taste? We’re not sure, blue has no flavour. How was the Economics exam? Well we didn’t attend class often enough and the textbook was dry in a dense way so we didn’t read that either. We tap our fingers against the scratches with the expectation that an action should bring about some kind of reaction. The slow-spinning fan overhead is our only companion. There are windows covered with sinking blinds that filter in only the dimmest and bluest of light. Sometimes there is the hint of a wind that wants to whistle. But it is empty and the room is motionless except for the dust pulled into the fan’s vortex.


What did we do last night? There’s so much we can draw up from the well of our minds but the most recent details slip out of our grasp. It’s always like that. Somehow far away and insignificant things float around the murky well. A sudden buzz draws our attention down to the pizza rotting on our vermillion plates. The red shadows make it difficult to note any one aspect of the room. Perhaps the crimson vibrations came from our stomachs, since the diner is static. The sludge on the table distracts us. It’s dizzying, we say and nod in agreement. Somewhere, there is a fly waiting for us to tear our eyes away.


Our throats are raw so we try the doors. Don’t step on the cracks, our feet murmur across the maroon tile. The round window in the swinging kitchen door reflects the dining room. We push the door open but the room is hollow and impenetrable. The bathrooms are locked. The little people on the doors are misshapen and genderless. The entrance has those gleaming ruby chimes that make the tinkling clinks we don’t like. We tap our nails against the slim ridges of the table top and watch the scarlet paint flake off. Our pizza is taking longer than expected, but it’s difficult to sink our fingers into time.


Do you remember the way the field spun around us? Yes, we lived in our own gravity. We took off our heels and the grassy moisture centred our soles. The skyscraping lights scalded the constellations, but they still prickled down on our bare chests. Our sighs remind us of thirst but a dusty film covers the Coke glasses. Where is the server? The need to order was so ripe that we are losing our hold on the toppings. Our bright rouge nails bleed into the table until it is difficult to tell where the wood ended and our cuticles began. When did we paint them?


Up down up down our knees bob. When the movement reaches the height of our nervous systems our brows fold into crumpled napkins. Is this impolite? It can’t be helped that we are just oscillating pockets of fuel. Where do we plug in? Our throats are raw so our queries squelch red in our bellies.

Beyond the reach of the diner the sky swallows and gasps. The rectangle of a restaurant contracts and its bones grind. Someone asks how long, and the rain responds. The room greens with humidity. We tap the toes of our lime heels on the checkered, no, solid floor to pulse of the clouds. Is this what we ordered? Pine needles are scattered across the congealed cheese. We reach across the table to pick crusty residue out of our eyes. The viridian crumbs disintegrate in the slick oil of our fingertips.


Do you remember when our voices used to vibrate clear as slivers swimming just beneath the skin? Of course, but we’re—. Looking for something in a language we can’t speak. Our forks scrape across empty plates. How was the Economics exam?