Phineas Gage blinks for eternity
by J. C. Runolfson
After the iron, the fire. Saw it coming, that eye, peripheral, too quick for the man himself to know, but the eye saw, told the brain, and the iron drove straight through. The eye and the brain kept their secrets. The brain sundered, opened to above, opened to below. Let light of Heaven and Hell shine through, this miracle, this living folk hero, this walking dead man. He's got one eye closed to this world already and nobody ever knew what that eye saw. For twelve years, the eye and the brain kept their secrets, 'til they didn't and the body flinched and flinched and flinched from the iron he'd carried as a trophy twelve years before, proof of life. Too late, the body flinched, and the iron drove straight through. The body flinched, and that's what killed him. Saw it coming, that eye, peripheral, told the brain, and the body flinched, but the man knew now, turned into it when the light drove straight through. After the iron, the fire.
J. C. Runolfson's work has appeared in Ideomancer, Strange Horizons, Not One of Us, and previously in Goblin Fruit, among others. She likes poking at the interpolation of the documented and the speculated, which is how she ends up writing poems like this one. She does a lot of nattering about folklore and poetry in her online journal, where she also occasionally posts pictures of her forays into the San Diego tide.
As to whether she believes in ghosts, she finds it very interesting the things we become inclined to question when we are temporarily corporeal.
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