SSM: “Porch” by David Cotrone

14 May

I’m posting late today. It’s been a crazy week getting ready for Vouched Presents and managing general life stuff. But, I’m determined not to miss a day of SSM, so here is today, “Porch” by David Cotrone over at PANK.

Over the phone, a woman I used to see tells me about her nightmares. What do you know about dreaming, I think.

“I couldn’t even begin to tell you,” she says. From the bathroom, the washing machine clicks off.

“Go ahead,” I say. “Try.”

“Well,” she says, “one time I was stuck lying on the floor, looking at the ceiling of our old house.”

We had decided to move in together too quickly, the counselor had said; we had committed to something without leaving room to breathe.

“There was a small crack in the plaster, and it kept growing, slow. I wanted to close my eyes but I couldn’t. I wanted to go outside but I couldn’t.”

A few months ago, I was dreaming very vivid, very strange dreams. They were strange in that they seemed very real, but something very slight was off about them. They were like a series of photos I saw at a senior thesis gallery show at Ball State a few years ago–manipulated photos. The photos for all intents and purposes were nothing spectacular. Interesting compositions. Sharp focus. But the subject matter wasn’t all too interesting.

But there was something deeply unsettling about them to me. They stayed with me a good while, and after a week of not being able to get them out of my mind, I went back to the gallery to look at them more, and that’s when I noticed the manipulations, ever, ever so slight. In one photo, the artist had simply removed the shadow from a bench and light post. In another, the artist had removed the support posts for a handicap railing, so the railing looked like it was suspended in air.

It was a striking moment for me, how a manipulation so simple could have weaved its way into me without me even noticing at first look. All I knew was something was off, but I couldn’t parse it until after a week of that unsettling sitting on my mind.

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