Image: Elena Kalis

Aura Girl, No. 9

Things that are over do not end.  They come inside us, and seek sanctuary in subjectivity.  And there they live on, in the consciousness of individuals and communities. –Leon Wieseltier

There’s a field on the body. Left of the center.

I know, she said and kicked up her legs. See this? I got it once, riding through some brush.

You say, Yeah, I’ve had that, too.

Continue typing.

She keeps shaking her hands at you. These are imaginary questions. They have sparks and barbs and listen to your thoughts. She sits across from you in the orange chair. You’re back at the coffee shop. Don’t look her in the face. In the face that’s not-really-there.

Hey, you got enough words for me? She asks.

Continue typing.

I know about that body thing you’re trying to write about, she says. I have one. Once, I kept track of my feet for a mile. You know what happened?

Continue typing. Don’t look up.

Hey, you listening to me? Well, anyway, what happened was, I found my feet doing this mathematical equation, ‘cept people don’t usually pay attention. That’s the path you gotta take. You know what I mean?

Continue typing. Don’t look up.

Does 33X07 mean anything to you?

Stop typing. Look up.

She laughs. I knew that’d get your attention, she says. You ever hear of auras? You know, the things around people’s bodies?

You nod your head. The couple in the coffee shop next to you whisper, wonder who you’re nodding to. A man moves chairs around. A pressure on the chest left of center.

There’s a field in the aura. You ever hear of that before? You know, you got a man inside you, she says. Laughs.


When I go home, it’s simply the cat, a drip of the faucet and my own world of laughter or knot-bodied voices, buzzed in through the door of silence. Sometimes I love them. Sometime I want the no-self to enter. The silence so rare that perhaps only antelope or mountain goats know it intimately, standing off a jagged cliff-side, whipped by God into white-noise.


The man by the East gate untangles a bridle. Grabs some leather soap. Wonder what she’d call this, he thinks. Touches himself. The new mare with two white hocks paws the sawdust. A numerical equation floats above them. The man looks up from his hands, soaping the bridle. Do that again, he says. The mare paws. 33X07. Damn, he says, you’re singin’!


Once, I tumbled off my horse as we ran across a caliche pit, down and through the clumps, her hooves, God’s skirt.  But then the earth opened up, pulled one of her hocks into the gut and she tripped.  As I tumbled, things once upside leaned their heads so far back, the blood-of-the-world got drunk and started singing to me, Shannon! Shannon! Shannon! And in the shhhhs, my temples landed, black and gold stringed-sky spilled.  When I came to, my horse idly breathing, bridle broken, I thought I saw numbers tied together in the sky.


The imaginary girl isn’t in the orange chair anymore. You lost the vision. It takes an hour to get to sleep, sometimes longer. Don’t let the weight on the chest get to you. Keep thinking about the field you should know about. Compose a letter. The man on the train takes out his pen. Marks lines on a page. X. Focus on it. I know what you mean, you write. I know what you’re trying to do. Just then, the thought of breaking open the window, jumping on the tracks. XXXXX. Sign your name.


Damn. The light gets in just like that! Says the man by the East gate. A jackrabbit leaps the fence. Stops. Stares. What you got, baby? He takes out his gun, aims. Naw, you aint my type, he says, laughs. The jackrabbit laughs, says, Don’t you want to eat me?


Draw a circle in the dirt, says the girl.

OK. There.

You see how it’s like a baby egg?

Sure. I guess so.

You like the blues?

It makes me wiggle. He played it for me, once. Ever hear of Muddy Waters?

Of course.

I hadn’t heard anything like that before. See my baby egg?

Uh huh.

You think something will come out of it?

It’s just a circle in the dirt.

No it’s NOT! It’s an egg. You just can’t see it.


An opossum walks across my mind’s screen, stops, stares, continues on.


The coffee shop plays Muddy Waters. Oh, yeah. Yeah, everything’s gonna be alright this mornin’.

You wiggle in your chair.

Now when I was a young boy, at the age of five, my mother said I was gonna be the greatest man alive.

I’m a man in a child. Love me. Oh child. I’m a man.

Call the girl back. Her not-real-face. Call her. Compose a letter.

I made the moon, baby.

I made the moon, baby.

I made. I made. I made.

You wiggle in your chair.

The couple next to you whispers. Wonders who you wiggle to.


My mental-opossum has a snow-white face and black eyes and reminds me of an owl.  In fact, if I recall my mental-opossum, the association of a great white owl causes a swoop-entrance of the bird above said opossum, crowing into a mist.


Younger-me sits in the passenger seat, her riding-boots muddied.

Present-me doesn’t want to look at her and instead, stares in the backseat where future-me sits, dotted and hazy. Is she where she wants to be? Is she happy? I want her, not the muddy-boots child.


Tumbling off my horse that day, perhaps the string of numbers, the threads, the fields, were telling me the world. Never linear, but a spinning.


OK, OK. It’s an egg.

Why are you crying?

I don’t know.

I know why. It’s ’cause you can’t see the baby inside the egg.

See my stars? They’re in my skirt, says the girl.


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Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been nominated for a Best New Poets and her manuscript was a finalist for the Levis Prize in Poetry. Hardwick’s chapbook, Hummingbird Mind, is available through Mouthfeel Press and she is an associate poetry editor for The Boiler Journal. Her work has appeared in the following: 3:AM Magazine, Night Train, Versal,Sugar House Review, Four Way Review, among others. She writes in the deserts of West Texas.

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