In the idleness of waiting, he thought he might entertain himself with the idea of the wolf’s inevitable perishing, a covenant to death was something he had held on to since he was a little boy, and now, the gesture of mercy afforded him both the foundation of reciprocity and the tactic of fear. It wasn’t whether it was legal or not, actions such as these were above the law, but a gesture that refused to be a redundant iteration of policy, rather it was the look in her eye that he valued most, the resonance in her voice as she would plead and the final gaping look she would give when she silently realized that the power had never been hers to relinquish. She would, of course, attempt to perish alongside the animal. He knew what she was capable of. But she should also have known what he was capable of, and it was what he perceived as a misgiving, as an underestimation of his power, that bothered him enough to inform the interpreter of his decision and to register the wolf as “dangerous” and to let it starve in a dark and solitary cell. He would wait until tomorrow to see her again so that she would have to wait, and he would put her in the cell adjacent to the wolf’s, so that she could watch the slow and inevitable consequences of her own aridity, her own lack of words in describing the confidence and magnificence with which he walked, and that dryness within a soul could be cultivated with death and hardness could be magnified by loss and obedience could be created by grief. He believed this, and he believed in her most of all, and did not expect the scene which the guards reported the morning after her containment and did not expect the feeling of unsettlingness that accompanied the scene.
Janice Lee is the author of KEROTAKIS (Dog Horn Press, 2010), Daughter (Jaded Ibis, 2011), Damnation (Penny-Ante Editions, 2013), Reconsolidation (Penny-Ante Editions, 2015), and The Sky Isn’t Blue (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016). She writes about the filmic long take, slowness, interspecies communication, the apocalypse, and asks the question, how do we hold space open while maintaining intimacy? She is Editor of the imprint #RECURRENT for Civil Coping Mechanisms, Founder & Executive Editor of Entropy, and Assistant Editor at Fanzine. After living for over 30 years in California, she will be moving to Portland, Oregon this summer to teach at Portland State University.