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Wonderglass / Lookingland

by Rudi Dornemann

A series of zooms, like a camera moving in steadily on its subject.

In through the French doors, over the book-carpeted floor.

Past the couch, lingering just briefly on the open notebook, most of it diagrams and runes but also the words “Carroll as photomancer / Dodgson as positive to L.C.’s negative -- vice versa?,” and, in a more frantic hand, “decode to enact incantation to summon white rabbit.” This last is both circled and underlined, and it’s next to the part of the page that’s been ripped out.

Under the arch that divides one room from the next.

There’s a camera on a tripod, both of them antiques. A split second glimpse through the viewfinder, everything upside down and tiny and then we see it for real: the dining room table with everyday objects set on the checkerboard tablecloth like pieces in some mystical game. Our passage slows, as if we’re staring, as if these things mean something other than complicated madness. Oyster shells. A thimble. A caterpillar. A small bottle. A chess knight. At the corners, nonsense words on scraps of paper -- speeding up, we’re gone before getting enough of a glimpse to figure them out.

Through the pass-through into the kitchen, along crumb-covered counters, rising up just in time to clear the glass of milk souring beside the sink.

(For a moment, against the silence, faint, rapid ticking, then it’s gone.)

Out the back door, over the fire escape rail, into somewhere else.

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