Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: the sky

The Death of a Half Witch

He was part witch, and quite the charlatan. These days he performed card tricks with only a spark of magic in them, on streetcorners, for loose change and people’s waning attention. He was becoming less impressive, sleeping in an abandoned observatory, wearing the same red-and-black tux every day after having sold the others. Sometimes his bones would creak a sad melody, and he had to pause in the middle of a trick to just breathe.

He was part witch, so he knew how to sleep with one eye open, pressed against the disused telescope. One day he stopped waking up.

How Little Girls in Schoolyards Lie

Is it true that, at the bottom of a deep well, with your eyes adjusted to the darkness, if you look up you will always see stars? Down where there is always night unless the sun, directly above, reaches down for you?

The answer is no, there are no stars, they kept you here with only the gurgle of water for company, no bucket or ladder or sky, stone lid above your head. Once a day, the sun reaches for you, but it only has a minute or so and it is not enough.

She said they would be back.

Tears of St. Lawrence

Grey, fibrous strings of light fall from the sky, and lead the way. The fireflies dance around them. The little girl spends all her time with her neck craned. She went out into the woods because she always knows her way home.

She looks down for just a second; there is a pinecone all dark and prickly like a hand grenade. When she looks up, a cloud has rolled in far too fast. She cries big tears that roll down her cheek like shooting stars.

The fireflies dance up in the sky above her, assuming the patterns of the constellations.

A Scholarship

A scholarship. A good time. Slight friction. The vast expanse of sky. Names of stars, drinking games. You forget his name. Last call. One planet, veering out of its orbit, crashing into another planet. More good times. Blood on the bedsheets. A conversation best had sober, easiest had drunk. Somewhere in the between. An unanswered question. The going-through of the evidence with telescopes, the plotting of vectors in the sky. Vodka. A shiver. He wasn’t going to say anything. You were the one who–

Electricity. One last look at those blackened sheets. A garbage chute. An envelope; a scholarship.


All the Arteries You can Cut

I visited the man in the cave today, but he didn’t want to paint for me. I killed the man in the cave with a sharp rock. I didn’t mean to, but I did. I remembered all the doorways he had painted for me before. All the light seeping through thick canopy, all the arteries you can cut on a deer’s body to kill it in an instant. I killed the man in the cave and I tried to paint with his blood, but I could only paint closed doors, dark featureless skies, and animal hides hung up to dry.

The Big Crunch

As the universe shrinks, the sky lights up, and night is erased by the cold light from dead stars far away. All our probes and lonely radio transmissions start bouncing back on us, faster and faster in accordance with the speed of the shrinking. Everybody wears a wide-brimmed hat and dark shades. Our crops die, our insects too, and then there is too much death to enumerate properly. Our own sun seems unaware of it all, shining on like ever before. Our cities are blanched out, we flee underground, and we’re just waiting for the crumbling sound of everything dying.


The sky stirred. The full moon wobbled, its contours shivering like the air above asphalt on a hot day. But the moon was impossibly colder. It pulled away from itself, like there were really two moons superimposed on one another. They tugged, and the stars around them wavered like airbubbles on the surface of a pond after you had dipped your toes in. The pale circles pulled further away, their overlapping surfaces shrinking smaller and smaller until they completed the process, and the petri dish that is the sky settled down again around two fresh moons, unmarred and pure white.

Touchdown Gently

You come from the sky in a shining ball of gold; you touchdown gently in my corn fields and draw strange crop circles and my eyes roll back in ecstasy. I try to contact you but you speak in maths and I don’t understand, and I tell all my friends and none of them believe me and all of them laugh, but it’s true, I remember you cloudlessly. I stay out late in other people’s fields just waiting, and the other people can tell I’m not really there, my eyes are fixed to the sky. Most of them don’t care.


Day, night, day, night.

Day; night. The sun races across the sky like it’s got something to lose and hides behind the big blue planet when it can.


Day … night. We grow plants on our bodies and we hold our breaths when we can’t see the light. It burns our lungs. Day, then night. The stars come out to play like fish in the rain. They swirl out here, quite unlike the static sky down on soil. They spin and spin and spin and we are more still than ever. Day –


night. We are never going to go inside again.

Sky Factories

Plumes of tar hanging in the sky, so thick you could probably scoop some of it out if you got close enough. It is always night under Nemuttemachi, the trail from the sky factories. Shantytowns are constructed anew every time the wind changes direction and relocates the sky. Inside the smoke, ever-shifting patterns of light move like dancing constellations, pale blue and yellow. It is said to emulate a night under the open sky in the times before light pollution. It is as if the heavy cover of black clouds cuts through the blue paste and reveals the real sky.