Weekly Skylights: The Tripod Looks to the Clouds

4 min read

Joey Cifelli ’23

Arts Editor

November 9, 2021 

Every day now the sun sets a little lower, off behind the gentle angle of the valley or close by in the sharp lines and curves of our homes and classrooms. The night arrives early on the dot, all of a sudden. And really, when the sky is cold and grey around the lower P.M.s, 2 or 3 or 4, it’s dark enough to make you forget the sun’s still up there, somewhere. It’s hard not to miss the day when it leaves so soon. But it’s not so terrible to see the dusk come by either. There’s a warmth to fall nights that has nothing to do with temperature. The darkness becomes comforting the way the edges of a bonfire are comforting. The air itself relaxes. And, if you listen, you can hear the sigh of the earth beneath your feet in the slow, cool breeze. 7.7/10 

November 10, 2021 

The door stands in the desert, alone. It sits there, unconnected to anything but the shifting sands. It is a common door, of standard design. It is painted white and long ago. Lines of wood peek below the paint in splintering paths, reminiscent of the grooved bark of the trees they were, once. The appropriate six rectangles are carved in the appropriate spots, their edges cut into steps like the mountain terraces of old. A simple brass knob, worn from use. The dull luster of oil on its surface reflects the desert sun. Oil from many hands. And close by, now, the stranded man crawls on his stomach through the sand. The grains are almost weightless as his rasping breath swirls them into clouds. His clothes fall around his body in strips and rags. A splotched and weary body with the moisture thoroughly drained. He raises an arm to the doorknob. It appears as cosmic and powerful as the sun as his fingers breach the space. The brass holds his palm in place. The door opens. The door closes. The door stands in the desert, alone. 8.2/10 

November 11, 2021 

Miles discovered one day, at his workplace, a room he had never entered before. The room lay in the back of the men’s bathroom in the basement, which was in a permanent state of temporary closure. Because of the sign expressly forbidding any access whatsoever to the men’s toilets (and the women’s, though they do not yet play a role here), Miles had never even tried to open the door. But, at the same time, there never seemed to be another bathroom anywhere in the building no matter how doggedly he checked. So Miles held his bladder in check and the issue more or less relieved itself. Until one day when Miles drank over a gallon of water due to a minor cold caused by an allergy to wheat germ. Miles’s mother always said to flush out a cold with liquids. So he did. Thus, on this day Miles could absolutely not wait for the workday to end to go powder his nose. Thus, he had gotten himself into this mess, at once completely avoidable and simultaneously inevitable given the preceding events, as is the case with most circumstances in life. 8.5/10 

Miles approached the men’s bathroom door, which was covered in a sticky, peeling dark green paint. He grabbed the doorknob and twisted and was unpleasantly surprised to find that there was zero give. The knob turned in circles. Miles pushed on the knob instead and the door gave way with a sticky shriek. As if the doorframe were caulked with honey. And in front of him, then, was the men’s bathroom, which looked perfectly fine except for one of the cloudy lights flickering in the corner. The bathroom was one of those all-white bathrooms. Tiles the color of teeth, bone-white walls, milky eye porcelain. The effect was laboratorial. Miles felt that at any moment he might be accosted by all-white surgeons for a surprise dissection. But this unease was a drop in the ocean of his strained bladder. He crossed to the urinal on the right wall and shortly experienced incredible relief. With that out of the way, he could at last direct his full attention to the item that had caught his eye as soon he stepped inside the threshold, which was a door on the back left corner, nestled behind a stall, slightly ajar. And from there it flowed, from the darkness beyond, the faintest hint of heat drier than a blackened bone. 8.7/10 

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