A true story by Alexander Cromer

On the 31 of September I found a letter.
It was fluttering its way down an empty busway
Headed inbound from the east.
I remember it was a warm day,
a lot warmer than it is now. I remember
the sun light coming down from the sky;
dancing really, it was doing a little shuffle
down from the cold expanse
of the heavens and
through the earth’s atmospheric toupee and
down to my brown forehead where it shimmied
like a sultry ecdysiast. Beads of sweat formed
like pearls and rolled down my face, teasing
these pink lips with their salted kisses
before they became molested by hot pavement.
But, where was I?
Oh yes, there was a letter, yes, and I found it.
The bus was due
(precisely 9:01.31)
and it was running late.
At five past its due time I saw
that letter come tumbling down the empty
I remember it was skipping along the warm pavement
as if, too, were being woo’d by the passion of the sun.
As it approached me, it lifted itself up, up off the road
And planted itself on my neck, damp with the dew
Of morning perspiration.
It was followed by the warmest whisper of wind
that tickled my skin, cooling it briefly before
escaping down the busway.
I peeled the letter off and looked at its contents,
It was a receipt for a long list of salacious items
purchased from an Adult store Downtown.
On the back, though, on the back there
Was the letter. Handwritten.In a
script I had never seen before.
Yet, its characters were familiar to me;
They had the organic graciousness of hiragana,
Mixed with the chiseled geometry of cuneiform.
And it seemed that…
It was written in an eastern-like format,
Top to bottom, right to left.
From one end of the receipt to the other;
a scroll written on adulteress paper.
Just then, there came the sounds of a bus
In the warm distance.
Its digital name tag read ’P1 EAST BUSWAY’
. It was my bus, arriving just on time
(precisely 9:01.31).
It slithered down the busway
– its visage distorted by the
heat’s almost invisible tendrils growing out of
the pavement and palpitating in the humid air
like seaweed.
The letter, folded thrice by my brown and slender fingers,
slid into my pocket as the bus stopped in front of me
And slowly opened its creaking maw.
I gave myself to its cooled stomach, and we
rolled off to a city of
stacked cinder block.
It was during the day’s late time
That I returned home.
I pulled the twice folded letter
from my bag and resolved to
translate its contents. Given my
familiarity with Japanese and the
limited knowledge of Cuneiform
Google affords me, I surmised I
would be successful.
But there was something more…
maybe some iota of knowledge buried
deep in the secret underground of my mind,
or maybe some distant memory,
that made the work come naturally.
Before long I realized I wasn’t translating,
but searching for its soul.
It took me awhile to find it. I searched
through the rest of late time summer,
and through the golden death of fall,
and through the muffled white of winter.
I only recently found it, hidden deep within
the black ink with which was used to
its contents.
It sort of has a name,
You see, the ink got smudged by the
perspiration of the bottle it planted itself
on when it first found me.
I was only able to translate half of the first word,
and all the second.
With that said, I submit to you for your review
“—able Spirit”
“Slide over here! Slide over
and leap from it, the edge!
Into the phantoms of midnight
sun, made of dark and innocent softness,
to the other place, where time becomes as a clover.
Its three leaves mechanical, to the souls it is a dredge.
Therein! A sapphire palace under the moon of twilight,
and within its glistening halls you’ll witness
the last vestige of impression—”