by a contributor

William Cordeiro

On a day like any other, the young man stared into the hourglass until he saw his own reflection. The grains had finished their pyramid. It was time he traveled to the navel of the earth. He passed through the city. He gazed at the ground where ants built their towers. Wind scoured the sands and the citizens scattered inside. Their eyes fixed on unraveling clouds; the horizon was lost behind the edges of buildings. He moved on, crossing a river. The water moved, too, with the sound of its loss. Over other bridges and onward, he climbed up a rise to a vista overlooking the wilderness. The sun blazed a ridge down dunes it stunned white. Across scrubland and scruff, he surveyed a cave. A black curtain of bats emerged from its mouth. Inside, over years, the cave’s tears had turned to pillars of stone. He found the graves of the fathers, bones at the verge where the survivors or slaves had burrowed a pit. The ribs ritually dumped in its womb. The remains were laid round in a chain, anchored in shadow, whittled to points, up-thrust like canines. Their array formed a fence, beyond which he heard the deep echo of nothing. His eyes had fallen into a galling abyss darker than ink. He made his return, across mountains solid with fog. All through the valley, lush tendrils and leaves discomposed his momentum; he ate speckled eggs from the flocks of huge birds, which swooped through the air, each nib of their quills lofting loops. He knifed through the brush. The rain was incessant, like the small eyes of thieves. Then, he rode over the sea, a turbulent mirror below which self-illuminating fish trawled an unfathomed waste. Finally, he arrived at his home, an old man, on a day like any other. In every direction, he could only look back. His memory as obscure now as the journal he kept. The path itself had been trampled into grains of fine dust.


William Cordeiro lives in Tucson, Arizona and is a currently a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell completing his dissertation on 18th century British literature. His creative work appears in many literary journals, including Crab Orchard Review, Fourteen Hills, Copper Nickel, and Harpur Palate. He is grateful for residencies from Risley Residential College, Provincetown Community Compact, Ora Lerman Trust, ART 342, Blue Mountain Center, and Petrified Forest National Park.

See William’s list of 5 Things You Should Read tomorrow in our ongoing contributors’ series.