By Tantra Bensko
Don’t open that note! The pages are folded over for a reason. Crackling of the adventurine-colored curtains gone moldy, and brittle, over the last century signals trouble all around you now you have started to read it.
See! A top hat falls off the shelf, a cobweb dangling behind it like the tail of a comic book comet.
Brush the cobwebs off your jacket, as the brilliant yellow of it must be pristine for your trial-by-jury-of-the moment. The cabinet-of-wonders-knickers underneath your jacket look up at you, and sigh for your older days of ramblings underneath the garret stairs, with women who’ve seen pleasures no one can imagine (but in paintings cracked with layers showing through which no one understands, but broods for, all that fervent, saturated color meaning something so spectacular, we can only guess.)
The mysteries contain you. You want out, and only answers allow escape. But it’s really the escape that draws you. So you must never really know the final reasons, the endings, strange as they may be, beautiful as you have heard they are.
You must never be painted in completely, covering over the layers of indiscretions no one speaks about, the spiders’ legs crushed against your thigh, the hats with extra trimmings taking over the structures beneath so fully that no one really knows the true shape of what rests on your head.
Tantra Bensko publishes her writing widely, in magazines such as The Journal of Experimental Fiction, Fiction International, Evergreen Review, Mad Hatters Review, Bewildering Stories, Rose and Thorn, Cezanne’s Carrot, and many more. She lives in San Francisco.