An Afternoon Muse by Mari

Once upon a time the world was made square. But it was lunchtime before anyone noticed, well it was a dot-off midday. 11.59 AM to be exact. It was 11.59 AM when the clocks appeared to trip and a loud click was heard by all, and on that sound life switched, too. And all the clock and compass settings were redrawn to reflect the new world form.

Each corner held a major quarter setting with the minute marks falling on silver tines along the edge of the frame. They were like minor scales counting up and across and down and around and up again as time tapped out her rhythm. 12' clock now sat on the north-north-west angle, 3 o'clock, on the north-north-east, 6 o’ clock on the south-south-east with 9 o’ clock on the south-south west angle.

And compass settings fixed themselves around the new drawings and each corner was magnified to pull ships and planes and cars and other types of traffic around bends to stop them falling off the edge of the world.

When folk caught up the with the event It was like they had stepped into an electricity short, you know the one that jiggles the household appliances when they stop and start again within a moment--within the flick of an eyelash or like a sun flare that glances off your sitting room window as it's pushed by an almighty wind.

It was so fast; and in that moment, rope ladders fell down from the sky. And folk just grabbed them and when they did they were imprinted with a code. Well nearly everyone did. I think they thought they would fall in a heap at their feet when they reached for them, I think they thought that they might use them to build bridges across rough seas, I think they thought they were in a dream. But it was real and when they grabbed then, their hands stuck to the twine, and the ladders grabbed back and then they just disappeared: But in the half minute when folk touched them ]their DNA was copied and they were switched over to land on the midday-chime to walk onto 12.01PM and get on with things for the next quarter. When it happened again and again and again; most folk never knew the difference, they never knew they'd been primed,

But not everyone played ball that day: Some just sat and watched, those who were used to observing rather than playing never thought to grab the rope, they just waited on 11.59 AM. They stayed where they were in their forever-land and ignored all the kerfuffle, as they stayed and planned how they might move on. And each time their friends passed they showed them new plans as they waived them on and up onto 12 MD and across to 12.01 PM, as twice a day they marched around the edge of the square.

Mari, 2019

The Linnet's Wings is an Irish Bases Literature and Art Magazine