Seeking a Z Axis On the Pages of GQ
by Randy Lowens
The woman on the bed was flat. I tried to give form to her features by penetrating, but the effort was fruitless. I scarcely knew her; I acted from need, not desire. Even as I inhaled her odor, fresh sweat and cigarettes, she remained two dimensional, a poorly rendered still life.
The old man in the park was animated. A red beret curled behind his head as he spoke of the war in Spain. The spittle that formed on, and then flew from his lower lip, arced across the distance between us: an amazing feat of geometry. The muscles in his arms were a series of cylindrical cross sections, tied together with tough, slender strands of vein and sinew. He lived his life for a revolution yet to be; I looked deep into his eyes.
The profile of my car is flat; my home, my nicest clothes, the framed degree. Without warning, textured surfaces are discovered beneath my fingertips; as suddenly, they wear soft beneath my touch. Wisps of fog appear above the river, then dissipate. The black earth of the garden smells of death, decomposition: I glory in life's transience. I gave a lift to a road tramp yesterday: the shadows in the folds of his jacket were infinite cavities, bottomless wells sunk into the gloaming. The shouts of immigrant children echo from the hills; the disembodied voice of my mother on the telephone seems a recording.
My daughter's pink cheeks are round; her sleeping form rests heavily in my arms as I climb the stairs.
Randy Lowens received the Tacenda Literary Award for the Best Short Story of 2007 that illuminated social injustice. His stories have appeared in JMWW, Unlikely Stories 2.0, Slip Tongue and Pemmican. He recently completed a novel about eco-sabotage in the borderlands between the Deep South and Appalachia; excerpts have been published in Thieves Jargon and Cherry Bleeds.