The sky, too, is a lake, and he is glad to have one. Green boughs, blue burden, each paint stroke like a flake of ash fallen upwards from his skin. He has come to love this ceiling.

He does not care for the walls, too much garden and too far; no trick of eye or mind can coax them nearer. They please him only as backdrops, mirages against which to set his own as he unspools himself.

And the flakes of his voice and his memory settle upon the belly of the low sky, until he is left as only core, hollow and burnt, crumbling under the palm of the desert's breath as it wavers through his window.