It began with the story of fire and its raging speed. Columns of flames splitting the skies.
The difficulty of breathing through a mist of ash. The razing blades that liquify, twist and contort.
Sword of light forged into steel. Burning shadows onto aluminium.
A Year Without a Summer
First, she must recount the taste of the poison fog.
The feeling of the earth’s crumbling particles.
A bit like chewing on sand, the feeling of dust on her tongue.
It had simply leached through into her flesh, down to her very bone.(1)
— had she lost her sense of taste and smell yet?
it’s raining acid from the sky
hub caps melting— welding— solidifying
even the Sun shivers
that night, the Moon spit thorns.
the city slowly deliquescing
— will she ever rise up again?
And, the next day, the Sun rose in isolation.
She wakes up to the lusty caws of ravens bringing bread and meat in the morning.(2)
But she has nothing to trade. There were no tears. Nothing like that.
Nothing but a piece of flesh and a flower.
In the caves, she eavesdrops on the murmurs that make up the rocks.
There are words inside the stones.(3)
In the cacophony of echoes, memories always gather in the same space.
Maliciously listening, they thicken around her. They multiply like shadows.
The earth’s gossip pulls passion and desire.
Mud becomes her listener, friend, comrade, collaborator; absorbing whispers through its chambers of clay.
The following night, she dreams of the caves of Lascaux.
Their figures and shapes engraved and painted over cavernous walls. How they dance and fuse with the rock.
She thinks— I could let myself dissolve into them, let them take me over . . .
but surely the dream isn’t all there is.(4)
Perhaps, it’s what we make of the fallout that matters . . .
The candle flame flickers, but its future turned out to be a mirage.
Oh, the pall of a past world.(5)
1. The Vegetarian, 2007. Han Kang.
2. The Ravens Feed Elijah, 1 Kings 17:2-16. The Bible. 3. Marrow, 1981. Ursula K. LeGuin.
4. The Vegetarian, 2007. Han Kang.
5. Darkness, 1816. Lord Byron.
The tale recounts the aftermath of a speculative cataclysmic event that causes dramatic disruptions in humanity’s way of life. It is partly inspired by the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded human history. As ashes from the eruption dispersed around the world, they blocked the sun and triggered extreme weather as well as harvest failures in Europe and North America. This is the story of what remains after grand disturbances shake the world to its very core.
— Marie-Charlotte Carrier , February 2021