The Pre-positioned

Natanya Ann Pulley

Regardless of having been thought of days before, in those tiny hours when the house seems tucked up into itself, a home of small things hidden or cowering or possibly even ignored by the large world outside, the world that does not bite or stomp about, but simply is so large that it doesn’t know its own size and every extra breath it takes expands it into new solar systems and wills it through the nothings as if they were never there to begin with, a universe of equations playing out so quickly and quietly that the smallest of homes of tiniest of people are hardly noticed, which makes it even worse than if it was a hunted home, if it were prey. Unlike the larger hours of the day, in which the very important things rustle about, when the ideas are marched across the lawns and pointed to bus stops to wait their turn. Unlike business hours. If it hadn’t arrived during the quiet times to a man, so gentle a man that he often tapped the things around him before handling them as if to ask for permission, or to measure the weight—the actual weight as well as some metaphysical weight of each object before picking it up or moving it or leaning against it or even before ignoring it completely, a man so gentle he didn’t even know it and walked around as if he could be anyone else because he was sure he could be anyone else and that anyone else could be him and that each person, if only they new the past-life weight of the others around them, would be willing to fit their person to themselves without any areas hanging or squeezing them too tight. Since no one had thought of asking him, of pulling him aside and perhaps holding his hand or whispering or even just shuffling from one foot to the other or all the other ways one might show that asking such things with two solid feet on the ground, with normally loud voices and with no hand to hand or hand to arm or eye to eye or some connection that said, hey we are in this together, we are the things that make up the world with this our bodies and our sounds and our selves that we bring to one another to ask the important things which include: how was your day and how are you, but also move to the edges of questions like: are you and your wife still together and are you living in your home and are you drinking much, and those other questions that seem like answers: are you going to ask me if I’m okay and are you going to ask if I’ve noticed that you’ve noticed that I’ve swallowed my tongue more or that I’ve let creep between us a small space that threatens to grow with all its excuses tumbling about. Along the lines he had drawn around himself, lines that kept those from asking and those from seeking and the lines that keep us from putting forth our truths as if they could stand on their own in front of us, two feet always in front of us—walking before us as we walk and standing beside us as we live our days, instead of the way in which they sink and shrivel on our skins and say the mean and unsaid things behind our ears, the things that let us know that we all have had something to do with it, had something to do with the man and his shift in the world, and the shift in ours, so that all we are are tiny people with little lines around us weary of blurring ourselves with one another.

Continue to “What It Will Be Like”

About the Work

Natanya Ann Pulley

Natanya Ann Pulley is half-Navajo born to Kiiyaa’aanii (Towering House Clan). Her maternal grandfather is Tachiinii (Red Running Into Water Clan). She is currently working on her PhD in Fiction Writing at the University of Utah and is co-editor of the forthcoming anthology Good Medicine: A Collection of Native American Humor (Red Horse Press 2013). A writer of primarily fiction and non-fiction with outbreaks in poetry, Natanya’s publications include Western Humanities Review, The Florida Review, Drunken Boat, and McSweeney’s Open Letters Column (among others). Her poetry will be included in the anthology Women Write Resistance (Blue Light Press 2013).

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