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Copenhagen

Story by Fred Spears (Read author interview) December 15, 2006

My father killed himself by sewing himself shut. He was seventy. He began with his eyes, and then his mouth. He was not an ill man. He had mastered himself, grown tired of himself. He held his breath for nearly four minutes while he filled his nostrils with bathtub epoxy and then stitched them together into a duly cleft stump. My mother says that he was afraid of the dust, because it is incorporeal, a cloud-body made up of home. He said things like this, but I tell you: my father was not an ill man. He was simply and rightfully afraid of the dust. He was afraid of it becoming him. But I think this was blind to the real, at least in his fear’s limit. Because tonight, when I was on my side, curled around the toilet in my parents’ former house, I saw the dust. I saw it, floating like a saint on the surface of a river, only appearing to touch the surface, and I saw what my father saw; that it was me, my father and my mother. And yet something else entirely. Because it is what we were, what we’ve cast off, what we’ve lost, perpetually. But my father could only see this; this history surrounding him and filling the empty spaces. If you empty yourself of mind and stomach though, and collapse into the small parts of a home, you can see that in the miniature galaxy combing the tile there exists both sides of the vice. Both crescents winding down and into the compressed present are the quantum shells of everyone. It is our history and it is our future. My father was not an ill man. He had mastered seeing but could not see the mistake of squandering sight, of sewing himself shut. He saw the world’s dead air and fled from it, but mistook differentiation for the real. He could not see the small. He could not see the future. But I can tell you, apart from the live and the dead, apart and above the mistaken history of my father that I have seen all things ending in dust. It is our history and our future. My father was not an ill man. My father is weightless, standing atop a river of blue tile, untouched and not touching. In the smallest world, we all are.

About the Author

Fred Spears is predominantly a poet but loves fiction. He lives in Royal Oak, Michigan with his girlfriend Kelsey and splits his time between work and school. This is his first published story.

This story appeared in Issue Fifteen of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fifteen
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