Excerpts from The Intimacy Trials

— Aja Couchois Duncan

Days when there is no sun. Days when we can’t see it and must remember.

Some say its color changes. Not invisibility but camouflage. It is yellow, we say, a boiling lemon drop, honey spitting fire.

But you’ve seen the calcification, the streaks of grey. It is already middle age.


Some have already conceded the loss. It is our most destructive tendency. To believe in what is possible, recoverable, and then not.

The oceans warm and expand. Increased temperatures create more acidity. We can feel it on our skin. You tell us stories of the oceans of your youth, deep blue, turquois, emerald green. Eddies filled with starfish, miraculously regenerating damaged limbs.

Extinctions blind us to everything else we still have to lose. Minutes pass without any record of them. We have stopped counting, so too, they die. The imaginal sheep, lulling ourselves to sleep.


As the earth changes, the insects do too. Their colors are more vibrant, their cycles briefer, more profligate. Today millions of cicadas burst forth. You reach your hand into the braided air and capture fistfuls of winged creatures. There is nothing to be done, you say. We open our mouths and you place a handful of the newly airborne insects on our tongues. They had only moments, you tell us, and you had centuries. We chew and nod our heads. Shame and docility. You are right of course. We’ve done nothing.

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