Walking in the desert, he arrived at a rope. It was thick, woven of coarse fibers – and hung from the sky as by an invisible hook. The air was clear, not a single cloud, and although he raised his head as if he were preparing his throat for the sacrifice, he could see nothing except the rope that shrank and disappeared into the heights of the sky. I wonder, he said to his hands, if it is possible to climb. But his hands did not answer him. Nor the desert, which had quarantined its opinion, as if its opinion could contaminate the pure certainty of the phenomenon.
Hesitantly he touched what seemed a miracle and the rope changed its position a little, perhaps the width of an ant. It seemed to shimmer, as if it contained a single silver thread. He touched it again, this time with more confidence, with both hands, and circled it with his fingers. I think I’ll give it a tug, he said to himself.
Despite her few years, the girl in the city knew that her brother was dying. The doctors had shaken their heads and backed out of the room. The world was not so old and one more death would not fill its ample cave of bones. Meanwhile, a drop of prayer fell into the barrel of prayers and you could hear the girl’s voice in the splash. At the same time, a bell shook the air and the brother sat up in the bed. I was a man, he said. A man with thirst in a land devoid of sky, of salvation. Through my fingers, I saw that the world is a wheel with so many spokes – and someday I will grow to roll it.
This piece first appeared in The Tishman Review, 2016