The local hawk froze in midair to make sense of such a sound—the sound of Canoe realizing the patter of rain against tin. Tin and tin and tap and tin—in its peculiar music, Canoe angled his neck to closer observe this phenomenon. Alone and drenched, he knocked on the shed for any kind of reaction, but it remained still as if it was supposed to remain as such—Canoe had never been in the rain before. He didn’t notice the frozen hawk in the gray sky looking down at him with still wings. There was a sun, too—beyond the statue—in a distant way, unnoticed.
His palms were open—facing the sky, the drops breathed a new life on his skin.
“What is this?”
Tongue out—soft bits of tickle.
He knocked on the metal again.
A door opened. A figure appeared.
“Who am I,” Canoe said.
“Make me,” a figure said.
Canoe lifted his hands to the sky—the local hawk, its beak shone amid the rain, the gray of the air formed around its shape. Feathers pressed and neat and wet, the eyes of a curious gaze set on Canoe and a figure.
“This is rain,” a figure said.
“For me. Who am I?”
“Tone and texture,” a figure said. “Give me.”
Canoe moved his head around—the statue, still cemented above. A wing and a wing, stretched as far as the horizon. Pitter and patter below. The tin and the rain, songs never heard before. All Canoe knew was silence.
“Can I speak,” Canoe said.
“I am no stranger,” a figure said. “Here.”
A cold shade in his hand, Canoe wrapped his fingers around it. The local hawk, curling its talons.
“I don’t want to look up,” Canoe said.
“What is this?”
Beyond a figure—past the rattling tin shack, no vision appeared. Walls and walls rain. Canoe felt blind, a sensation accustomed, but a figure persisted.
“Put your hand inside of me. I need it. Give me light.”
“Light. I am not here, am I?”
Compelled. Canoe lifted his chin, the rain, in small drops, peppered his face—a stinging. He forced his eyes open, an adjustment—a flinch. The local hawk cracked its wings from its own petrification.
“What is this sound?”
“It’s the sound of a song.”
The rain bounced against the tin, a music which made Canoe want to move. There was movement, and a figure twisted and turned.
“Put your hand inside—cover me.”
“Am I confused?”
“Put me together.”
“This is not me,” Canoe said.
Canoe noticed a speck in the sky, delineated from the rest of the air—a presence felt. The tin and the tin, metallic echoes pelting through his pores, he felt a gravitation. A pull, which inched closer to a figure. Gray against black against nothing, Canoe opened his mouth to shout—mute.
There was no time in its being, the local hawk breaking its mold, shifting its head. Melting wings.
“I want to go back,” Canoe said.
Once spoken, Canoe put a hand inside a figure, a shrilling light tore through—booming squawks, and there was a silence. A figure taking shape—colors splashed, a rain no longer. The tin shack stood staunched, reborn, and Canoe disappeared—a figure with life. Away, skies approached with anticipation, and as Canoe entered, one last vision. The local hawk, in all its glimmer, flew and changed the air—a light and a sketch and a shine of the tin.
Shome Dasgupta is the author of The Seagull And The Urn (HarperCollins India), and most recently, the novels Cirrus Stratus (Spuyten Duyvil) and Tentacles Numbing (Thirty West), and a poetry collection, Iron Oxide (Assure Press). His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, New Orleans Review, Arkansas Review, Magma Poetry, and elsewhere. He is the series editor of the Wigleaf Top 50. He lives in Lafayette, LA and can be found at @laughingyeti.