"The One in the Image"

C. Violet Eaton


There's plenty of stainless steel inside, & the floor is a blue-and-brown-checked tile mosaic. The tabletops & counter tops are blue Formica, & the chairs are upholstered in blue. There are broad, vertical green stripes on the exterior, & the red letters of a neon beer sign glow in the window. Like many older examples, the heating system is limited to two small space heaters, & any warmth you feel is radiated therefrom. Outside, the bases on which the three figures stand are carefully though imprecisely modeled, but at the bottom they simply merge into the encircling border - brick, interspersed with flowering ground cover. We are reminded that the beauty & survival of flowers is the pleasure of the LORD. Praise of him & celebration of his authority remain consistent themes, but conscious expression of these we find to be uncommon in this particular context. Some beliefs may have been lost while others may have been acquired, but there is nothing on the horizon or in social life which could give birth to or develop mystic tendencies. In considering that it is but one of many similar structures in the north & the only one in the south, one can argue that the features were older in the north. They have had time there to agree more with local style in other matters & especially to have flourished to the point that several forms exist. But the argument is easily reversed - perhaps the features acquired new significance in the north which led to an efflorescence of derived forms.


Shun not display & eccentricity - it was a pride of wealth doubtless which bedecked a great demense now abandoned. The layers consist of newspaper, corrugated cardboard, advertising circulars, & patterned wallpaper, applied in that order. Stunning doré bronze mounts complement the unique stonework, at an oblique angle to the direction in which the head is pointing, & with such a degree of agility as to appear grotesque. The caress of the chisel passes & slips over the forms like lips brushing. All hardware, from the hinges to the lock, is gold-plated & expertly engraved by hand. The half mortise lock itself is a rare double strike, which required a much higher level of skill to manufacture. Usually one encounters some unexpected detail - irregular spacing, a raised rim, some kind of elementary discrepancy. It would cause no surprise standing in the middle, where it would be experienced as a projection of the landscape having no connection with it. The calm physical proximity belies a discordant, morbid antagonism - eighteen stories tall & haloed by the sun, it is a scene for contemplation. A bold rhythm accentuates her lines. Look you there beyond the hedge, Marvel as the intricately hand-feathered bird sings a sweet melody while opening its beak, turning its head & flapping its wings - singing bird automata of this superior detail & design are extremely rare, especially those in excellent, working condition.

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Author Bio: C. Violet Eaton is a poet in Arkansas. He is the author of Quartet (Ahsahta, forthcoming 2018), & Some Habits (Omnidawn, 2015).