Below is Part 4 of 23 monthly installments for Visitant.
Mask over mouth, hair stuffed into samovar, Agnes Person declares war against spiders, the widows and the foolish bachelor types in her apartment nooks. Showers threaten to spoil Cinco de Mayo celebrations about town, but rain clouds have not dampened the ardor of arthropods looking for love-mates. Agnes watches the slow ceiling fan pan dust fuzz laden with webs, wings, and body casings—the wages of war. Amidst these tiny battlefields, a white feather spirals on a silken thread. Agnes is a soothsayer, but she knows an omen: the King Returns!
Removing mask and helmet, Agnes gives the spiders reprieve and feeds TN. Any moment now, she expects the Miracle. She hears the roar of the crowd in the closed-off street below. They are waiting for a sighting of Elvis to manifest in gas-streaked puddles, piled trash, broken curbstones.
Glancing out the window, Agnes sees his face, at first, faintly defined in rubble and urban disrepair. He soon looks out in bold chiaroscuro. To die for, those thick eyelashes, green eyes, parted lips! Not to mention the sideburns.
Pulling on the other arm of an old sweater, she bolts down the stairs and out the door. Right away, Agnes sights Elvis. She finds the King’s mouth in the cracked asphalt and reclines in his divine smile.
Bending her knees, she rests her head on her arms.
Clear out! yells a photographer, and begins to swat Agnes with a folded tabloid. Eager for the front-page scoop, he drags her out of the smile, over the right sideburn to the curb.
Like she’s a bag lady.
Hey, goon-head, who do you think you are? demands Agnes, tempted to kick.
Close up, she sees the Elvis eyes pass for potholes filled with broken bottles and trampled paper cups. Who cares?
The nearsighted kneel, shed contact their lenses and cast away designer frames for those with greater need. Others fall prostrate over the King’s ears and slick harp-shaped wave. The deaf begin to speak in tongues. Rude baldies say Have a nice day, and sprout sable manes. Pax, they say, holding up two fingers as a V, the peace sign.
Lux, light, thinks Agnes.
A neon glow hangs in the sky like an Aurora Borealis. Federal authorities create a No-fly zone overhead and divert air traffic.
Agnes stands up. Walking backwards, she squints and spies the first tears rolling across the King’s cheekbones into the gutter. The crystal streams meet, crest, and flood gutters and walkways. Torrents wash away the face, leaving streaked pavement, palimpsest.
Empty of Elvis, ordinary noise fills the city. Backed-up traffic honks, buses groan, garbage trucks grind.
Forlorn onlookers drop their arms. Their mouths form lopsided Os and cry out rock n’ roll unplugged, Verdi’s solemn Requiem in the wrong place:
Lac, breaking trees
Ri, aching wood
Mo, branches scraping measure, losing life
Sa, forest gasp
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