The Price of Light

Earlier, in Big Lots, I watched a man’s face round and smooth as an empty plate from the corner of my eye, outside the center of my gaze lift a brush from its hook and run it through his hair. He put it back carefully, using two hands to steady its swing. Only then did he notice me trying not to notice him. It was in the blink of an eye, but not fast enough for my mind to block it out, relegate it to the manifold, unsynthesized, disposable. I kept my cart moving, and my day revolved through all the clicks of the clock, round-faced and implacable, until night, when I stand under this unclothed sky tongue-tied, night-blind, and watch this old man rising first orange, then yellow, then white, as if shame-faced, then relieved, then accusatory; he knows we want everything as cheaply as humanly possible; he knows we wish we had nothing to hide.

Laura McCullough | Mudlark No. 32
Contents | The Cost