Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral

New Orleans author Amelie Daigle returns to The Fabulist with “Cities,” a disturbingly beautiful set of visions of a life interrupted. Collage and image manipulation by Fabulist house artist Adam Myers.

In her head she builds cities.

Watch her frail body pale on the bed shiver-tremor. They erupt from her consciousness enormous and towering, they lay their foundations in her brain and demand to be built from the ground up or else they begin with a simple shelter and then stone by stone, shop by shop, onwards and outwards till thatched roofs catch fire and she builds over burns with the columns and the windows and so

lying flat on her back at night, adorning the ceiling with skyscrapers hanging like stalactites with roads spiraling down, populated by beings who ride on mechanical horses that gleam with the vivacity of well-polished metal (gleam like the needles that come every hour to steal her sleep and take her blood)

but back to the village of castles and cottages; now some beings tunnel under, build caves and underground citadels—yes, she thinks, this city will be layered top-down, every generation of citizens digging further and further so that in the sunken catacombs beats the heart of the city, buildings made of rare metals found deep in the ground that is drilled each year in larger and more intricate patterns, honeycombing tunnels blossoming outwards, yes and

(no yes I know there’s a tumor in my mind, no yes I know it’s branching out from a central cathedral, its colonies run down my spine)

force the poor upwards, up to the shale and thatch they’ll not be found with the latest mechanical horse oh no in this city the wealthy have pale skin and dark hair and luminous eyes like a child who lives only in shadows and under artificial light until

the ground cracks open, a thousand invisible beings pouring metal molding metal into skyscrapers that hang like stalactites drizzling down through her ceiling and they build downwards and downwards and on come the mechanical horses and downwards and piercing her skull and she screams out and someone in white saying hush now, hush now, but the beings keep on with their drills through her temple through her (hush now, hush now) as a thousand mechanical horses stomp on her eyes and trample her throat.

Mechanical horses / Adam Myers

I’m a doctoral candidate at Boston College, where I teach postcolonial literature and research representations of migration in postcolonial Anglophone novels. My dissertation examines novels that represent transnational families. I argue that contemporary postcolonial novels offer new models for conceiving of citizenship and community, troubling the idea of national borders.

%d bloggers like this: