Shadows on Ice

Excerpt from Nocturne Variations.
   They were spinning slowly, ever so slowly.
   Do you want to go faster, Piers reached down for the dial. I can make us go faster.
   No, Anya smiled. I like the speed. We’re moving so slow it’s like we’re not moving at all.
   Piers and Anya sat in the Amusement Seats, across from one another.
   Piers drew the cloth to her face, huffed, then passed it to Anya.
   Piers stared at Anya, half her face masked in cloth, an asthmatic bandit in the throes of huffing.
   Piers stared and stared,
   and her vision dissimulated into small birds,
   winging across the painted winter of Anya’s face,
   and into the rabbitpink of her eyes, a dying sun
   or lighted prehistory.
   And then, like a slow-motion dream in reverse,
   Piers found herself earlier in the night:
   Anya, on stage, a glacial Venus, dancing with the other Winter’s Brides,
   dancing to invoke snow, which came in the form of electro audio fuzz.
   Can you hear the snow falling, Piers elated to Trink,
   who nodded—Yea yea I can hear it babygirl, I can hear it.
   The Brides, rejoicing in prayer, intensified the frenzy of their dancing,
   as the snowfalling amped into a blizzard of white noise,
   that raged and raged and then
   A ribbed, cathedral silence,
   freezing the Brides into a penitent tableaux.
   And then, the frizzy feel of cloth in hand, returning Piers to Anya who was now sitting across from her, Anya has handed me the cloth and I have just huffed, and I am now saying to Anya—Remember when you were a kid and you’d spin and spin and spin as fast as you could until you fell down and it was like the greatest thing in the world? Did you do that?
   Anya laughed—Yes I did that. I think kids everywhere do that, no matter where they grew up.
   Where did you grow up?
   In the Ukraine. In a small village. Where did you grow up?
   I didn’t.
   Piers laughed, as did Anya.
   No, I grew up in South Dakota. In this town called Belle Fourche.
   Belle Fourche, ah. What does Belle Fourche mean?
   It means Beautiful Fork. Not for me though. It was more like Ugly Knife Twisting In My Side. How was it growing up in a small village and being different?
   Different? Because I’m albino?
   It was sometimes hard. People could be cruel. But I learned how to tune out the negative stuff.
   Now you’re a beautiful ice fairy in L.A. you are made of ice and snow and magic, you know that right?
   Yes, Anya played along, and even though it’s past midnight I haven’t melted yet, the spell hasn’t worn off. I get to be an ice fairy for a little while longer, and then—
   And then?
   And then I don’t know.
   Anya laughed.
   Piers placed her hand over Anya’s.
   Anya’s hand is warm. She is an ice fairy with warm hands, Piers thought.
   Anya stared at the small pink offering astride her hand and said nothing.
   It was almost two hours into the new year, and the new decade.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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