about the author

Alexandra Isacson lives and works in the Phoenix area. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Grey Sparrow Journal, PANK, DOGZPLOT, Right Hand Pointing, and other places. Visit her at alexandraisacson.com.

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The Mysteries

Alexandra Isacson

1. Empathy

A nude leaned against an easel. She felt a faint chant-emanating deep within the canvas. A frenzy of squeezed paint tubes and paintbrushes oozed warm and cool colors, alongside paint splattered esoteric books and shuffling Tarot. The painting pulled her in through her hands. She became the liquid body and naked voice of the chanters. Outside herself, his voice was music.

“She’s still wet,” he said.

She opened her mouth, and her words strung out backwards. She pulled herself back, resting on his iron-framed bed, she slipped off her heels and seamed stockings. Her fiery hair was damp, and she felt woozy and chilled. He wrapped a vintage mink around her shoulders. Rain pattered on the copper roof. Outside the laced window, the rain sounded blue but smelled red. Canvases slanted against the walls. Painted women and triangles of magenta and chartreuse snakes pulsed.

2. Consciousness

Crystal bead strands sparked in the window, and the rain splashed violet on the glass. He touched her fingertips and told her he didn’t have a model. His words burned like incense, circulating into her heart. She tried to keep herself from blurring into watercolors. Lucent, her blue-violet eyes fixed on a powdered Tarot.

“Yeah, I cut lines with that card,” he said.

His cigarette smoke was a nimbus, conjuring a paternal ghost clinging to her consciousness that she would never let go. He wanted to know if she had a portfolio. Her mink slipped from her shoulders. She held the powdered nine of cups. The laced curtain was torn, and it was raining violets outside.

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