"Coexistence"

Illustration by Sofie Praestgaard

Coexistence

The canopy conceals
at what point in the man’s day
he is felling the tree.
We do not hear it fall
but his axe thwacks, thwacks
one of many trunks
6 times; then the video flashes white,
then another thwack.
He begins to walk away,
toward the next times of his day.

We suspect he has been alone for 22 years,
in a place we call Brazil
but do not know.
We killed all the people he knew.
Now we watch him
briefly, for 21 seconds.
He deserves his privacy.

We think he digs holes.
We call him “man of the hole” or “last survivor.”
We may have heard of the miners
who spit out lungs near him last century,
of the biodiverse jungle, all that.
The exotic trees surrounding him with patched bark
resemble sycamores.
We may see his dull head of hair
as bush made of bent tin.

Comments speculate about the shaky camera.
We may doubt his existence
or his situation. We’re curious.
We may take photographs of holes
or homes or resin torches
he may have made.
If we’re unfulfilled,
we can turn 21 into 42 or 63 or more.

We may be increasing his territory to 3,000 hectares.
We may be calling it territory, not property,
for does he conceive
of ownership, of agency, of the singularity of the self?
We are surely misunderstanding something.
We replay his morning, afternoon, or evening.


Jordan Cutler-Tietjen

might seem like a writer and an editor. He's living with his mom in Altadena, California.

All contributions from Jordan Cutler-Tietjen

Latest in Fiction