Steps in the Sand

By Giovanni Agnoloni (previously published on the American website Aoife’s Kiss)

I’m the one who walks and doesn’t complain. I proceed cautiously, although I’m sure I’ll never fall. I don’t think. I don’t complain. I just blow. It’s my task: being part of a game bigger than I am. The sand is hot. Invisible threads help me stand, and I see no way to get free. The ring I’m walking through is small, the lights red. I can’t think of anything, as I’m made of steel, and my brain is my only gift. But it’s restrained from acting. My thought is merely theoretical. I must transform into something different, if I want to find a way out. Yet, it’s difficult. I need my friends’ help for this. The huge man makes my arms move so that I may blow the gas upon the torch I carry. When that happens, the fire jumps. The people applaud. I’m almost indifferent to what surrounds me. Mine is a so-called life. I long for my planet and my house.

Now my performance is over, and I’m taken outside the arena. Other numbers begin. I hear the music changing. The heavy man pushes me aside and the threads fall upon me. They are loose, and I feel empty of energy. The chair they’ve put me on is cold, even more than my body. There’s confusion around me: people cursing ‘cause they’ve lost their tools, acrobats wearing goofy uniforms, animals wandering without a notion of their condition. They look at me, and I think they can understand me. But their eyes are distant. They belong to the forest. A world made of green and black, of yellow and red. A natural dimension. On my planet everything is made of metal. But we love it.

They found me floating in space, during a mission. I’d got lost. They caught me and made me their prisoner. Now they want me in a post-modern circus, as I breathe out gas, and send up high flames when it meets fire. It makes people laugh, they say. I can’t speak, and I’m too weak to resist. On my planet they would understand my mind language, but here they use another way of communicating. I look up, in search for a bit of open sky. I know there’s a fissure, through which I can see the moon: the only piece of universe that slightly reminds me of home. It’s full tonight, so I can distinguish mountains and valleys on it. Now a channel of light departs from there, bound to Earth.

It’s transparent and tenuous, and I wonder if it will set me free.

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