Untitled (The Dead Man’s Spirit) / Tristan Foster

Dead Man as you work around the spirit. The space inside your skull where it should be is empty, a wormhole, room enough for a beetle. Sunset, boat on the sea bobbing, tide pushing in. For a time, you are obsessed: you work against the spirit and its impulses, gossiping and trying to mislead. Your muffled voice in our ears, like the warm breath of a panting dog. Memories now little more than scratchings on the page of a faded newspaper. When was the last time you felt enraptured? Ever? Childhood doesn’t count. The Dead Man is a slow learner, like a python with its belly sliced open. Though it is widely known, it must finally be said: the Dead Man died unmarried, a virgin. Your mother, in the lonely moments she allows herself to admit the truth, thinks your pristine state put you in the express lane to heaven! While on your eternal wanderings, you worry that you left something unstirred inside, like a salesman who failed to make a single sale, hands still full, the thrill of transaction unknown.

In your research you find, at best, the spirit of man fades in time, like love or one’s eyesight. Snake in the teacup, snake in the teacup, a nursery rhyme you heard or misheard, you don’t know where, as a child. You should have indulged when there was time, Dead Man. It is not a spirit within us, it is mere locomotion. 

Tristan Foster is a writer from Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Letter to the Author of the Letter to the Father and 926 Years, co-authored with Kyle Coma-Thompson.

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