"the cruel radiance of what is" –James Agee
Triptych: three black rectangles of anodized aluminum. The screen mold. Capillaries of dried milk angled into translucence by the low light, the refraction of which, through canopy foliage, punks & bloats a parallelogram of shadow onto the light switch/electrical safety outlet plate.
The shadow parallelogram higher on the plaster now, more complex, more frenetic and multi-layered, the angles sharper.
Palm spears in the triptych’s left-most panel. Bilateral, twin- and yellow-tipped, long-fibered, paper-stiff chafing when the air stirs. Diagrams of interlaced radiance in matte and wax-gloss with variable opacities of green.
Overlapping, wind-stoked oscillations of differing amplitude.
(Stir, rise, thrust, brown, wither. Die. Linger.)
Central triptych panel: With the sliding light, the tangles newly legible, though confusion wells up from the roots, the stems; the lichen-stained upper branches (with their lavender fungus) silvered now against a backdrop where gray reigns over ghost fronds like duplicate prints in antiquated monochrome. Fountains of wilt.
Right panel: inky out there, a window black as aluminum, the room thrown back on itself, all plastic white and right angles, the screen mold illuminated from within, dendrites against the unreadable, dimming with sleep.
Pete Duval is the author of Rear View: Stories. Recent work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review and Witness. He teaches at West Chester University and lives in Philadelphia’s Chinatown.