Theorying the Take a Step Too Far
By Craig Foltz
Somewhere along the way, we adopted unfamiliar personas. The volume of assumed names
grew and grew in accordance with the latest theories on microbial talent. Miasmic soil is a
precursor to spontaneous outcomes.
Nobody recognises you. The room you grew up in mimics the rough footprint of a familiar
cave. You say, “It’s finally happened. I’ve become a particular person in a particular part of a
Somebody from your distant past arrives, bringing precise instructions on how to achieve
Instruction #1: Identify a place with a more sophisticated and relevant outlook. Swampy
ramparts with cold, brackish water. Insulated surfaces. A place where the touch of skin
becomes an unredeemed object.
Instruction #2: Implement a process for establishing safe distances. You cannot reach across
this great divide. The woman wakes you up in the middle of the night. There is something
physical in between you, a flat plane extending beyond your immediate calculation. She says,
“Allow your heart to fibrillate. Then place your eyes in a container of murky liquid.”
Instruction #3: The preceding action is tricky; the amount of electrons vanishingly small.
Slowly, the shape of your childhood home reveals itself to you. A neighbor offers you their
pets for adoption. You think, Brine is alive, but unverifiable.
Instruction #4: Avoid the strata of downward mobility. The characteristics of the sale are
impaired; the connections unreliable. The person you used to be retreats into a field of
seedless lupins. Likewise, the walls of the cave are decorated with photographs of the
horizon, all of which lack critical focus.
Instruction #5: You say, “There is plenty of space for tussling, but insufficient space for
collaboration.” Note the corollaries to the exposure procedure and activate. One tests the
acidity of the soil with thin metal instruments that had been calibrated earlier. She says, “The
numbers are arbitrary, but stable.” Another becomes fattened on herbs and exotic grasses.
We cover this person in dead leaves and restrict access to the perimeter.
Instruction #6: Encapsulation disrupts ongoing services. This is why the hands slip back
under the sleeves and why buttons rumble. You say, “An ache is presumed, but can be acted
upon later.” Something moves under the blanket.
Instruction #7: Quickly rearrange yourself into three generations; the first of which has an
appetite for copper and iron. The other two generations are luminescent, though their
coatings will soon become compromised.
Craig has been published in numerous journals and anthologies and have released three full length books, the most recent of which, "Locals Only" is a poetry collection from Compound Press (2020). He currently writes in New Plymouth.