I spotted you soaring high above me, your black wings wide like in that stolen poem from years ago. You were looking for an exit in the sky; we’d surely tried everywhere we could reach on foot. Days, maybe weeks, wandering through the desert of the real. Every layer of meaning, sign and recognition stripped, so that all we were left with was this stretch of fine sand and the occasional dead tree that poked through. Memory remained in patches.

You said perhaps our shared mind had absorbed the world. That when we refused to continue with the great projection the material lost all form.

Being a mental object yourself, a mere image of self, I guess you were my final projection. If only I could give you up, maybe I’d truly move on to another plane instead of being stuck in this graveyard. But to watch you tirelessly try, for me, to find the exit was an act of love. How could I give that up?

“Yes, yes!” You cried as you came in to land beside me. “That’s it! Something is shifting. Hold on to that thread and I’ll pull.” And you reached into my navel with your slender fingers and brought out a pink cord. It hurt at first, a rich stabbing pain right through my torso, but as you ran it came easier.

The cord contained multitudes. I saw them entangled in there, all the specifics and the judgments. Trapped, but with no apparent desire to escape.

You came up behind me, having run so far you’d gone full circle, still pulling the cord. It went taut just as your toes touched my heels, and in the same moment it began to graft with your skin. You didn’t cry out. Hardly reacted at all, in fact, as though this was how it was supposed to be: a single thread, attaching you and I, wrapped around the world. I turned to face you and we embraced, and the cord began to swell. Began to repopulate the desert.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” I asked.

“Wants have little to do with it,” you said. “This is how you write.”

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