f o r r e s t    r o t h

 

Impermanence

Sekai

Setsuko
















Impermanence

He had, after inspecting a student’s canvas, launched into his favorite diatribe regarding Van Gogh’s "Sunflower." He had seen the fountainhead himself. This work, he avowed, remained the supreme model for aspiring painters to follow; a hundred years and more had passed over it, leaving the background, formerly green, burnished away with care by invisible tides that revealed faint the cherished hue of yellow beneath. And so he professed genius, decay. The sunflower was dying and not dying.


I continued to eavesdrop from my station, watching his bare arms wave around the perimeter of the befuddled painting he perceived, the shirt sleeves rolled to his elbows.


I invested such precious little time maneuvering since.


As he brought me into the bedroom, both his hands under my legs, his bodily form dissipated in the darkness, existed in gesture alone. I heard the removing of my overcoat to unbutton those extraneous layers, and diving too swift. Only the tickling of hair across my abdomen cloaked me; behind this, a first pleasure drew breath.


A more delicate distraction there: his whispering the syllables of my calligraphy script.


These whispers finally died of their own accord.

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Sekai

A gust of wind had blown the orange off the pedestal. I could stare.


With obeisance, the offering returns unless anything disturbs this night. The skin of fruit will drift hard and cold and soft, and leave in leavings. Another may yet replace it or it still may not.


I perform obliteration to sit woodenly before a shape possible.

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Setsuko

 

Balthus kicked up his failing heels in a piquant mood over the weekend in Rossiniere, imagining a two column obituary juxtaposed with "Portrait de Sheila Pickering," and while doing so marvelled at the victorious gambits old artists play in retreat, his own hands to refine an open book cryptic—covered in immutable leather, he hoped—under the preserving frostiness of an Alpine-bent light, even if this photoinduced effect would miss his well-worn crown and fall harmlessly, or perhaps comfortably, on his wife pressing another, less lasting visage as my film developed its final tints.

 

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FORREST ROTH lives in Buffalo, New York, and curates the COMMUNIQUE Reading Series for the Just Buffalo Literary Center. His fictions appear or are forthcoming in Noon, Quick Fiction, Paragraph, Snow Monkey, Elimae, and other publications.