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Bryony Dawson

  1. You lie on your back and look at the bulb
    which hangs on a cord in the centre of the ceiling. Not directly above you, but a pace forward and out to the left. The cord is thick, white, faint memory of a kink in it. The bulb is off.


  2. You often imagine your room flipped -
    the bulb standing in its whiteness like a single tulip. With this, a sensation of trying to spread your weight across the ceiling as on a frozen pond, crushed give of thin plaster, fine dust, fingerprints.


  3. The bulb is the kind with three loops, three prongs. Arranged in a kind of hexagon with a narrow space in their centre, just big enough for a finger and makes me think of foxgloves.


  4. During the day, pale square of the velux window stretches a shadow from the bulb  and its cord - like a sundial sent on a slow twirl of its double, smearing out the hours on the skip-trowelled ceiling.


  5. In the shadow, the prongs congeal in one clean hook joined seamlessly at the base, thin eye of light slid through a tiny gap like a needle.


  6. At night you never turn this bulb on because of the unflattering glare it throws over your unkempt room, so the ceiling is lit from below by a softer lamp. This fixes the bulb’s shadow in a dark slant like the long hand of a stopped clock.


  7. You lie and stare at this stillness which seems to contain, saturated, all possibility of its movement, same way a mirror contains its inverse - an equal volume of actual and virtual, held apart by only a thin membrane. 


  8. You look for some expression in the blankness, but the meaning is in you, not it.  The weight of you laid out on the bed is at once frustrated and calmed by its constancy, a container containing nothing but surface - always as if about to give, the taut edge of a revelation.


  9. Some days an apathy like recurring doors opening to recurring walls. It is hard to believe there can be anything as still, as solemn.


  10. Even in daylight, you think, this shadow could never complete the full sundial cycle - only what the small square of window will allow, and then what the ga(s)p between the houses will allow, and this season sees the sun skim the corners like a loosed balloon - coaxing, teasing the weight of its ribbon to fumble across furniture and out of a doorway, sucked slow into a faceless sky.


  11. Every room you’ve slept in, you find yourself greeting this view like a checkpoint. The bulb and its shadow, a pin in a map, epicentre of something. You like to think you could calibrate all of these rooms across time and space, as if each is only an arrangement in a long series of anagrams.


  12. Ashy light on a thigh, yellow cut across the bed. Same bulb, same shadow, same morning coming. Something in the slant reassures you like a familiar face - a collusion, tacit, the unblinking equivalent of a wink.

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