It is a place of egos.

Since the earth subsided and the shaft collapsed, the mine has become an impromptu catacomb. The silence that obtains here, miles below the surface, is of a particular kind; and the darkness, too.

Ghosts still work the seam, pushing trucks and hefting picks, setting ethereal charges.

For the dead, of course – or so we are taught – there is no category left that they may fret upon, wondering of wealth or celebrity. Crushed, asphyxiated, pale from their subterranean labours, there is no longer any need for them to parse and comb through voices, neither their own nor others’, to modulate the tenor of the world.

She wakes in the morning, leaves behind a cloud of ghosts as she rolls from the bed and plants her bare feet on the bare boards.

How often Mother Nature secretes her treasures in remote, unlovely places, deep under the earth, in ice or bleak rock, among atomic fires, in Siberian emptiness or Peruvian fastness.

Pad, pad, pad – the sound his hands, clad in white gloves, makes as he applauds the performers at the end of the play.

It is a place of egos. The perfume she wears, haunting with attar of roses and a hint of limes; the wax he wears in his moustachios.

The sadness of gangsters at the lights, thinking when they did not mean to think, recalling victims and their untrustworthy friends.

The moment – divine in its ubiquity, mysterious as a god – intervenes, as always. Think: of all the gold worn in New York or London, Shanghai or Rome, how much of it is born in those cities?

The elegant pitfalls of simultaneous lives, the sudden drops. Occasionally, to find ourselves occupied by the affairs of strangers; more often, to find oneself a stranger, unoccupied.

It is a place of eagles.

 


from the series Silver of the mine of gold (open-ended: 2013–present)

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