When the World Folds In (The Dead Man) / Tristan Foster

1. Good boy, dead man. That’s how it goes, since the beginning of time. Good kid, grows sillier as the world folds in, as he begins to think that he can impose his will on it. Cheap bouquets taped to telegraph poles in remembrance – or is it to warn? Here, late one night, drunk, a man did something he shouldn’t have. Did you see him? Do you know this man? The flowers dry out, bleached by the sun, but their message stays true: Watch out.

2. His mother would argue that he was a good boy, always. Still is. The Dead Man shuffled when he walked, avoided your glance, looked down at his shoes. Daydreaming even when it was dark. Thinking of other things, maybe wore headphones. Sat under a tree to eat pumpkin seeds or slices of an apple. Met friends there for jokes and lies. Shoes off like they’d each walked a long way. Eyes up, Dead Man. Check behind you. The world folds in when you are not looking.

3. The Dead Man groans in his sleep. The groaning carries down the hallway. His mother, still awake, about to lock the door before going to bed, goes into his room to check on him. The room is stifling, completely airless. She calls his name until he wakes. She asks him why he slept with the window closed. He stretches then rolls over, tells her he hadn’t thought about opening it. 

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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