by Michelle Elvy
I am a sloth, sluggish on my mossy tree. There is a limb reaching toward me, a bridge to another tree if only I can move toward it. But it’s too far and it’s not my nature to try. I didn’t get this nickname for nothing.
It is quiet here. I am floating up. There is no stronghold, not a single holdfast. Just when I am about to float away, I hear a faint song, not recognizable, a soft surprise as it plays backwards. I settle back onto my branch and watch the world unwind. A flutterby turns back into chrysalis: the anti-pupate, no cocoon, no safety. I look back and see what lies ahead. I look ahead and see you behind me. Not where I left you.
What is your name? I say.
Is that Spanish?
No. You are not at home. And listen: sloth is not a sin, it’s passion.
I am passion, I say. I will bite the apple, but then I am stained red. I am muscle fibre under a microscope and you are looking hard at me, even with those cheap Cory Hart sunglasses you wear at night.
Shhh, you say, Listen. You take out an old vinyl LP, play it backwards.
Eosin is an anagram of noise, you say.
I take the LP and play it all the way home as it unwraps, unwinds, and undoes everything I know.
Michelle Elvy is a writer and editor based in New Zealand. She edits at Blue Five Notebook and Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction. She shares poetry and stories at Glow Worm and her views on writing and editing at michelleelvy.com. She lives on a sailboat and misses her LPs.