Preview of Unsaid Six: The Wetness of Their Wings, by Lito Elio Porto

Wetbirds dreamt of their drying. Beneath the waves doused through and through they tumbled there for several generations – an entire history, for their species – in the way bodies tumbled when submerged, appendages not really flailing, legs heads wings and arms, but remembered as growths more akin, held closer in to the body, proprietary. An eon, two or three or several more by some reckonings passed in this manner, with all of the attendant lightenings and darkenings of the untouchable sky-screen above. Many queried themselves, how could the lightness or darkness have such a whole effect in that liquid realm, how could something not there be so there. Far fewer ventured to think the unknowable, what was the source of lightening, and was it different from the source of darkening.

The wetness was known not due to any contrast encounter not a hit of dryness, rather, because of the flatness of their feet, the lack of web on their hands, the utter uselessness of their wings. Do not for a second think that the wings could have been re-discovered, re-tooled to tread the cold molten mass. The wings in water were leaden, worse than lead, heavier toward the tips and attached to the somas as if by the slightest hardware available. This is how they knew of wetness. This is why they had evolved to be such proficient dreamers.

The wetness of their wings provided talents and visions, all born of a singular deficiency of propulsion, for glide. In the darkness, the wetness of their wings brought them closer to each other, for an entanglement more thorough of limbs and imaginings. Too inert for glide, a newer better solace was needed. One that could be kindled there wherever they were, on that spot remain. The invention thereof, like all inventions, evolved from the very graces of nature to fill an absolute void, unbearable.

Once every generation, usually, the liquid medium of their lives would boil. Not merely in degrees of temperature, but in measures of tumult and turbulence, in terms of poisons or in regards to debris, war would occur. War the only kind of war without a face in opposition. These onslaughts of self unto self would bludgeon the bones without a blink’s worth of notice. That is how internal. The poisons would cramp the liver and kidneys even before the dormant taste buds would be roused from their intermittent slumber. The turbulence would rattle their memories to the point that every other became a version of the same aversion, grimaced and unnerved. And so on.

At no other times would their dreams be so ecstatic, vivid, interrupted. At no other times would they so crave the entanglement, and at no other times was the entanglement so unsatisfying, still needed. At no other times would their wings seem so misplaced. And yet there they remained, wetbirds submerged, subjects of the listless ways of the waves and tides.

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