The way Sister Grothendieck processes through the hallway, her feet chilling against unheated hardwood acreak, is something which the watching Donna Malor feels should be, could be accompanied by one of the darker, murkier uncleftable movements hidden in the derelict pools of Händel’s or Purcell’s baroque corpi, mounds of their penned notation for harpsichords and archi and basso continuo, muddied and yellowed by not the passage through time, but by the accumulation of it. This accumulative aging and temporal approach of materials towards a sordid cream color is a process which also affects the attire and weeds of Malor’s abbey wash after wash, but its prominence on Grothendieck’s coif and tunic shines amongst a rubric of the other nuns like a dully silent star… where tillows blow and sallies blow above them, tillows in their shadows as though the sallies are their motherly chieftains, every star is dull as a worn, dusty oil like those abreast in the main hall of abbesses past, whereon coif after coif is identical to its adjacents. —Grothendieck…? the abess pleads. Grothendieck proceeds in somnambulatory paces, eyes wide shut, from hallway flank to flank, door to door, her fingers rubbing along the wainscoting of the hall and collecting in mass, Black Mass, in her fingertips and the antipodes of her cuticulae, splinters from the wood unfinished at just subthoracic height.
Outside the abbey, three teenaged girls smoke cannabinoid vaporizers in the dead of night. It’s exactly 11:54:23 ᴘ.ᴍ. Those prior sallies and tillows are nearly still, ignoring a whistling breeze which brings about a solemn tristesse to all of barren Conkerpine. “Smoke” dissipates from their mouths into darkness’s greater fog, and seconds later, breathing’s difficult for all of them. Coughs which would awaken you from a deep sleep are choked up here, i.e. those dregs of the soul which manage to rise to the surface of a moldy beverage too spoiled for safe consumption. Nicole and Zoë sit on the curb with sooty leggings and tights, and Taylor stands behind them. Faith in smoke mirrors faith in God, And rarely, as often as a star shines clear past, a trialogue is initiated; Nicole interrupts the darkness, —My mom said you guys are ignomammoths.
—Ignoramuses? —Did you know the plural is actually ignoram-i? —Like it’s Greek? —Yep.
—She said that and… ahem, and she said I shouldn’t hang out with you, like I can’t bring you guys over to my house anymore.
—That’s retarded, Taylor sits down on the sidewalk. The streetlight outside the abbey is shining continuously without flicker, lighting up this little parking space with a Fiat like a cave wall.
Conkerpine, WI, lies still from there until the morning.