They Will Sew the Blue Sail

Three Paragraphs from NINETIES | Lucy Ives

Whenever I see something, I have to think about its name. I have to think, “There is a blue bird with a blue head.” I have to think, “Two painted metal doors each with one pane of glass.” I have to do this. I have to think, “Chrissie is staring like her eyes hurt. She is at the desk closest to the wall. I cannot see her hands. Her socks are folded, white.”

In real life, I never do anything. I let things happen. I watch. On television there is a commercial for a psychic. A live rabbit twitches near a push-button phone. I close the cabinet doors over the screen.

I mostly do what anyone I like tells me. I don’t know how to discover fate. I see a phrase, “glancing blows.” It’s in a description of a revolution in a textbook, and I have to make a note. I have to say it to myself ten times before I sleep. “Glancing blows.” It is an expression. It is perfect. I gather it up.