m a t t h e w    f o g a r t y

The Pilot

after Russell Edson

 

Up in the dark of the dirty window there's the light of a star. The old man in his room at the back of a chair, the chair a captain's wheel, the star repeating cycles of nuclear fusion throwing off light and dust, the room stardust. He steers the room by this star, steers until the starlight fades and falls behind the black of a cloud and first there're the advancing drips against the roof and then the long drops that draw tears on the pane and then the rhythmic flood. The rain a waterfall now and he says, I am afraid. The hazard of this night waterfall, that there's no seeing the width or depth of it, the height.


He says, Be brave, my Captain. Like the first explorers, who sailed to the edges of the world and who, from fear of falling, tied long lines to stay moored to the shore and who, when the lines ran taut and snapped, continued regardless. Like the first fliers, who chased the groundshadows of their gliders carrying soft pillows in the event of disaster. Like the young boy, who dreamed of rocketing through the atmosphere on his bed, reaching a star, catching it in a lasso, bringing it home, keeping it as his own.


From this memory, the old man thinks he can steer through the dark of the clouded star and into the hard mist of rain to the base of this waterfall, throw ropes around rocks at the head of it, form pulleys, steer the room over the rain. Be brave, he says again. And with all his strength he pulls his room into the wet dark of the night air, into the clouds, and beyond.

 

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MATTHEW FOGARTY, born and raised in the square-mile suburbs of Detroit, currently lives and writes in Columbia, where he is co-editor of Yemassee. He also edits Cartagena, a literary journal. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Passages North, PANK, Fourteen Hills, Smokelong Quarterly, and Midwestern Gothic. He can be found at http://www.matthewfogarty.com.


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