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The Switches You Have To Search For

by Alex Dally MacFarlane

Pieces of furniture hide their switches inside.

If you can find its switch, hidden in whorls and rings and knots, your table will shake off its ornaments, tear off its clothes--its paint or wax or finish--and dance naked for you, limber like a contortionist.

You did not think its pose was its natural state, did you?

Watch your cabinet dance, its drawers pounding the earth like athletes' feet, swirling its frame like a discus. Watch your wardrobe break-dance on its doors. Watch your bed serenade your floor, watch them recount sordid tales to one another, watch them make love--a shifting labyrinth of planks and slats.

You could get lost watching them.

And if you do not hunt again for their switches, if you do not dash in with your shield and turn them back off, you could stand motionless, staring, until they take hold of you and swing you into their dance. They will weep resin and glue while they do it, but they will not stop; their compulsion runs deeper than pity, so deep they cannot know its motive. Your bones will clack against one other like drawers sliding shut.

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