FUGUE BY JULIA DALY
Doctors said she was the owner of problematic post-synaptic endings, she heard layered noises—birds pecking at tree bark, and picking up pieces, of forests to build nests with—sounds remorselessly penetrating the sinewy tissue that connects the intimate intricacies of every living thing.
She couldn’t remember anything, except how piano keys felt on nerve endings, and the relentless motion of contrapuntal composition, and the potent peppermint bark her grandfather would bake and nestle deep in her pockets— the protective napkin wrapper would catch the crumbled pieces
like the net she used to catch moments of peace would collect only delicate things. She left behind stacks of magazines and trinket-nests with Easter-basket-past-lives. Casket endings incomprehensibly echoed in her mind the way violence barks in a silent room. She was 25 when she first inhaled the
fog that covered the early morning-mountains. It began filling every crevice of her brain with peaceful cell rebirth. She grew out of a tree branch, splitting the layers of bark. She took nothing with her as she wandered, her family worried her dead. Turning her home into a Pantheon, they accepted her end while she made nests on every continent resting her labyrinthine artery on the familiar punctus contra punctum structure of The Musical Offering and she’s been finding comfort in pieces of music, in the newness of everything around her. She cracked her skin a few days back on Candlebury bark, and had a passing thought. Branches that once nested a small girl she could hardly remember who got overwhelmed by the dried-out, raisin-nature of things. She was sure that delicate girl was a woman now, less afraid of the way bark beetles bite and the way bees sting—a form of protection—but it kills them. Maybe in adulthood that small girl has found the missing pieces
of herself. Phantom melodies bark and resonate, making nests in the seams of the atmosphere. She has finally found peace in the unraveled things that tie together beginnings and endings.