Horizontal Vortex

by Quin Browne

I am awake, heart pounding, lost as to where I am, what the object is I am on, my mind frantic in its search among the flotsam and jetsam of letters and images and words contained there that mean... nothing. The sensation doubly frightening; not only do I flounder while I seek the word for this... this thing, this surge of blood and endorphins that brings me to full, shaking awareness, it's that I am cognizant enough to realize I would not understand the meaning of the word should I find it there among the others. It happens more and more these days; scattered words on my dresser... on the floor... in a box of photos of people whose faces that are as lost to me as the name of the thing that they are. In the middle of a conversation, I am struck dumb seeking... something that has letters and a meaning, and I can't remember it and I'm like this human... eight ball that if I wait long enough, it will pop to the top of my head and suddenly... suddenly... I shout it, relieved and exhausted from the search. Creating my own spoonerism language, laughing at myself as this becomes that, words switch places, sentences flip flop... self-deprecation a weapon in the battle I fight in the hope no one will notice my longer and longer pauses... that their words won't start to whisper around me, slipping and settling in my ears, adding to my own thoughts of fear. I wonder, while I look out the window at things that do not fit a category in my memory, feeling the letters touch the edges of my mind... seeing them with peripheral thought, I wonder... will the words remember me?


Quin Browne, author of Laurence Olivier is My Lover, lives in New York City. She likes it there.