words would weave in and out of our dreams in a shimmering tangle of gold. Only as we woke would our dreams tear apart from her threads and go their own ways. Because of this, we would awake clutching the mat, weeping momentarily, as if our own skin had been torn.

[Dreams are so terrible in their finality, their onwards motion. We cannot even stand up to our own death, we are swept along, made to watch it behind the glass of omniscient sleep.]

At this second call, we would go scurrying to the rocks to watch the sun rise out of the boiling ocean, to heat ourselves in the steam and to eat our fill. Fish and all other manners of sealife would float up, boiled. Every morning we would go climbing down the cliffs by a path that only we knew, worn by only our feet. One day the sun refused to rise and remained submerged in the water like a large gelatinous yolk. Through the steam, it hissed and the water turned a oily brown. Hungry, you dove in.

I sat by the cliff for a month, looking at the water beneath. I could not move. Each time I looked away, I would see your form rise to the surface, a hand dark against the grey of the water. It would be deceptive, the shadow of one wave on another. They blew into my mind ----- small dark shadows running in and out the houses, wet. Their footprints were the small airholes of razorbacks, puckering the dirt. They found the clay, smeared it on each other like a salve, chittering. They sat down by the sea and hung themselves on the ropes they had brought from far away--- red and white whips braided in tight intricate knots. This was their language, indecipherable even by our best. Lips first bloomed on the almond. From their bodies grew vines, flowers shaped in the form of frogs or birds, wondrously clear and fragile. I cut down their ropes and whispered each to death: seige, sedge, sage. I and my men buried them with our trowels, stamped and danced on the mounds. We began rebuilding the large screws that lifted the water out of the Euphrates, into Baghdad. Ziggurat.

Walls thick enough to drive a chariot on. And then we stopped. We saw the chestnut trees ripen, nuts with human heads and lolling tongues. We watched the vines hatching forth new faces. An insidious odor filled the city, relaxing us. Our own faces were mirrored in the flowers, hissing at us, winking, aging in a matter of days. By the river's edge, the white clay crept into our ears; we could only hear water, lapping everywhere. We were dying out, effortlessly, by the banks. Our faces were smoothened, features effaced. There was no pain; only a sense of sliding height that often accompanies loss.

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