The Story “Thing” (New Orleans Review, Vol. 38.1, 2012) and the Photography of Stella Kalaw

Stella K has a pair of photographs on her site that seem to embody the ineffable.  They’re landscape photographs, but —  it’s hard to tell what’s below the horizon in the first photograph.  Could that be a city?  The ruins of a city?

The second photograph has branches —  sticks, really — rising out of what could be a marsh, a swamp, mist.

Stella’s photographs always lead self to imagine a story.  That must be because, even though self’s medium is language, stories come to her in images, flashes, fragments.

There is something really powerful that happens —  emotionally —  to self when she ponders Stella’s work.

So here’s a story, “Thing,” which is set After the Apocalypse, in Outlier Rehabiliation Center Sector V:

Caesar tells stories late at night if we can’t sleep.  He is old.  Old enough to remember a time when there were factories and pigs were processed night and day, when the smell of pig blood lingered over everything.  He remembers a time when people ate every part of the pigs:  ears, eyes, even entrails.  Pork fat was used in cakes, and in bread.  I try to imagine a cake.

The factories still cry out.  When we hear the keening sound, we know it is the herd of ghost pigs, running into walls and crying because they can never find their way out.  They are inside people’s heads, like the memories of old ways.  And when people’s heads get too full of the memories, the first ones to tumble out are the pigs, running every which way and squealing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

1 Comment

  1. Stella K said,

    March 30, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Thank you, Marianne! I shared this link on the comments section on my blog too.


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