Fathom 1993



Inside Cover



Jason Holt (3)
Dana Graham
Mariam Pirbhai (3)
r.j. inglis
Sean Maschmann
Graham Touchie (3)
Leslie Stockhausen
Nicole Fernandez
Helen Prosser
Sean Lawrence
Simon Gauci
Derrick Higginbotham


Ramona Ryan 1
Ramona Ryan 2
Urs Frei


Quico; translated from Spanish by Paul Duffy



Chinese Horoscope
            for Yara

     Despite his best efforts, the bottle slipped from his hands and smashed on the floor. It was a small room in semi-darkness with a wooden floor. The contents of the bottle began to eat away at the floor. The bottle had contained (of course) Bacardi.
     He managed to get up with great difficulty, but fell over at the first step. The Bacardi-soaked floor gave under his weight.
     Recovering from the fall, he stood up, to find himself in total darkness. He took out his lighter, one of those new ones that produced a flame in the shape of an animal, a different one each time you lighted it. This time a pig was formed. He immediately wanted to make a nice roast out of it, but when he tried to seize it, the pig gave a start, did a double somersault, and ended up on the floor watching him. Fearing that it might burn the place down with him in it, he extinguished the lighter. The pig was bewildered, looked this way and that, hesitated, and finally went out.
     He tried the lighter again, determined not to trouble the new shape, which turned out to be a hyena. The most disturbing thing about the shape was its laugh. And to think the ads promised hours of fun and amusement with this new lighter!
     By the light of the hyena he could see he was in a room full of jars and dust, a square room with a large window in each wall. The panes of the windows were papered over.
     He went over to one of the windows, having to contend with a laugh from the hyena whenever he stumbled over something. He made a pinhole in the paper which covered the window: a ray of sunlight entered the room almost horizontally. While he was considering that rays of sunlight are very impertinent and have a way of launching themselves in some direction at the first opportunity, he assumed that this window must face west. He was well aware that the sun could also be coming up, but he preferred sunset to sunrise.
     He turned left and made his way to the adjacent wall, enduring the hyena’s laughter at each step. When he reached the window, which should have been the southern window, he made another pinhole in the paper covering the glass. To his astonishment, another ray of sunlight came into the room and began a discussion with the first. The conversation turned to politics. Once he recovered from the surprise, it occurred to him that there could hardly be a sun in this direction as well, since who has seen a sun setting in the south when there is already one setting in the west?
     He crossed over to the other side of the room and made a pinhole in the paper of that window. It was no big surprise to see a third ray come in and set about contradicting the other two as well as itself.
     At this point the hyena’s laughter was almost unbearable, so he decided to put out the lighter. With a last guffaw, the hyena disappeared.
The light of the three rays enabled him to go to the fourth window and make another pinhole. It seemed almost natural for a fourth ray of sunlight to come in and start a game of dominos with the others.
     He took a little run and threw himself against the window, which broke into a thousand pieces. He fell into a garden where the grass looked like cotton. He spun around and saw the four suns, and when they saw him, they decided to hide on the horizon. Confusion reigned. The rays of sunlight, which at that moment were all over the place, got mixed up and dashed off as fast as possible towards their respective suns. More than one of them ran in the wrong direction and fetched up at the wrong sun. Then he saw the moon at the sky’s zenith, shedding its silvery light on the whole garden. Without knowing why, he lit his lighter. The flame took the shape of a beautiful horse, a tall and stately mare. He shooed her away with his free hand, and she sprang onto the grass. As soon as she touched the ground, she grew to the size of a normal horse. He approached her. The light and heat radiating from her were unbearable, but he felt an irresistible desire to touch her. He stepped closer and, at that moment, the horse neighed and broke into a run. She raced back and forth, stopping briefly at a tree or some flowers. At times, she drew near and turned towards him, but, before long, something else would attract her attention, and off she went.
     At first he did not know what to do. He watched her with fascination, waiting for her to come back. Then he tried following her, but he became tired much more quickly than she did, and very soon he realized that he could only catch her if she wanted to be caught. He threw himself to the grass, waiting for her to return, thinking that she was, after all, a horse of fire.


last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul