The Final Say
Firelined, The Empire redesigns itself in ruin. This is Nature’s way of undoing consuming humans. Only The Least Beast remains, tracing in race the edge of The Empire until they face The Oracle’s gates. The Least Beast has not a question, but a final say for The Oracle.
With only their shadow parts left, The Least Beast butts up against the blackling maze of The Oracle’s estate. Through thick particulate emission billowing in grand jeté, The Least Beast grips the grate of the gate between their melting teeth, rattles the iron with sharpful yanks of its muzzleneckbeak – each rod the back of a smaller animal for breaking, for banqueting.
Recognizing the sound of a visitor, The Oracle sets down the hot teacup they enjoy in the back room, untwists their legs from under their down comforter, lumbers slow on slippered feet toward the front, toward the gate. Instead of exposing themselves to the extermination extramural, The Oracle spies through the peephole, operates through the intercom.
The Oracle [eyebrows in tilde, trying to distinguish dirt pixels and ersatz hertz beyond]: Who goes? Who says, out there?
The Least Beast [almost unmouthed, manages]: Nonebody!
The Oracle: Nonebody is welcome in The Empire.
The Least Beast [atrophying]: Nonebody is all I’ve. Now here.
The Oracle: Yes, it is all very much and a lot, isn’t it? [beginning to shut the peephole against the latest unimpressive apocalypse, ready to hibernate until the next race begins] Look, I am not to interfere with Nature. I must get back to my affairs. Have you anything left to say?
The Least Beast [wrestling its metaphysics against the metal of the gate]: Nonebody is alive. Nowhere.
The Oracle [nods, sighs, pinches themselves between the eyes]: Alright, I’ll let the next ones know when they arrive.
The Oracle forgets the message promptly.
KT studied poetry and narrative medicine in the Creative Writing and Writing for Performing Arts MFA at the University of California, Riverside. She is currently a third-year PhD poet and Kingsbury Fellow at Florida State University, where she served as book reviews editor for Southeast Review. Her work is included or forthcoming in Washington Square Review, The Spectacle, Peripheries, Foothill Journal, New Limestone Review, Peacock Journal, Southern Women’s Review, The McNeese Review, Turtle Island Quarterly & White Stag Journal.