by Tori Telfer
Now that she’s close enough, we can hear her whispering.
“You think you know beauty.” Her voice is a drop of water hanging from the tip of an icicle. It hits once at the base of our necks, rolls down our spines.
Now that she’s close enough, we’re losing our eyesight. Her stars charge us with their bows drawn, sinking arrows of light into our optic nerves. We groan and reach for our lovers, terrified that this time they’ll be unrecognizable. In a way it feels like we’re all kids again, soaking in the pretty new face before kissing with eyes nervously open.
Everyone is really friendly now, waving each other on at stop signs and chatting with each other in grocery store checkout lines—bound together with the mucky glue that makes strangers near death into best of pals—but Andromeda, rushing toward us with her blazing mouth open, sends us scrambling for our soulmates. We pin up our eyelids, soak our eyes in saline, desperate to extend our sight. We stare at our lovers for 20 minutes every morning and 30 at night, clutching at their faces like amateur phrenologists: the ridge of each eyebrow, the childhood scar crosshatching the upper lip, the long lower eyelashes, the trails that their tears leave in the makeup they still cake beneath each milky eye.
We miss the time when she was thousands of light-years away. We miss the years when she was just a cloud in distant space, a scrap of cotton floating through a corner of our distracted and pure sight.
But Andromeda whispers mercilessly, “You haven’t seen my face. You’ve seen my body, but you’re about to see my face.” She moves closer, wreathed in her gift of blindness, her death by fire. She’s flying toward us with her arms spread and she’s laughing.