The voice, it drifts from mouth to mouth. Lungs swell, numbing tongues that can’t stop, unable to brace themselves for the wind that blows over the upright, once-tight lips. Now open, out it comes, the wind, the Voice, and these streams pool together and gather, kicking up dust in the countryside, pushing boulders off ocean cliffs. I thought at first it was a thing to fear akin to a tornado. To cool my nerves, I sought the reliable word of a wise man, he who lives in strangely painted shelter.
He said to me, “The statues in Attica had the clothes knocked off them by this desert wind.” I laughed, but he frowned.
“Hold your screams, son, much more will be ruined by the wind, the worst is yet to come; see that bright ball in the sky? The wind will blow it out. Haven’t you noticed that it’s been moving down from its proper place since midday, growing dimmer? That great fireball has been our last guard against the hurricane, once that’s gone and fallen off the edge, the winds, they will be free to sweep away the very color in the air — the Light — and so it will be dark. And we will be dead. And if somehow we are alive, the globe, the place where we stand, it will be ripped out of Atlas’ hands. Then the Earth, it will fall into the abyss, surely then we will all be dead.”
I said, “Be clam.” “I am.” — and he was, and so was I on the outside. The inside of me felt like a fresh bruise, and still my outside became stiller and softer. The inside of me started to flicker. I closed my eyes and it was dark, then I opened my eyes and it was dark, and on the outside it was dark, and on my inside it was dark.
I was still able to gather the still air; that air was a bellows to my fear. My heart, it was spinning faster and faster with each breath until the light, it shot out around like the sun, behind the moon — and how it lights the lunar edges with fatherly light! My heart still beats faster in fact, but to run away or to chase the goings on about me… the color’s coming back.
You should have seen how I felt when I heard Apollo’s arrow whistle through the wind when it landed on the grass just before my feet, slicing an arc through the black sheet — I thought I would have a heart attack. O bless’d Apollo, I never thought I was a god-fearing man!
At my feet, where the fresh cuts bleed the brightest, whitest light I could ever see, I saw. So I closed my eyes and it was light, then I opened my eyes and it was light, and on my inside it was there: what was blown away.