Thinking Fast and Sinking Slow

  “Ni shi nar de ren?”
   I know what she said but I can’t breathe. She’s sat up and turned her head to look at me. But that isn’t even half the quick transition we just made into dreamscape. The lapping lake, usually so quick to fall off itself and go to ground, has… stopped. Has thickened to a stillness. She’s left a trough where she had lain. Absently she smears off the blanket of water she’s lifted up with herself. Fat broken hands. The mist sits like a shroud glued in place, patches of fucked up air so much more obvious now. The men have turned to wax. I can’t draw air.
  “You keep trying to breath,” she says. I do see her nod but I don’t see those busted lips move past the swollen tongue. “That better,” she says, nodding away.
   I clutch at my throat, overwhelmed. Do you know that sadness that comes on you under bouts of oppression, where you’ve just fucking had enough and if you could lie down everything would be okay but there isn’t time unless you just give up? I don’t usually get that in front of other people.
  “Don’t breathe,” she says.
   So fuck her, I’m already bent over, I do just let it go, close my eyes, and stop. And I wait like that for a while, wondering when the pressure will start back up, when heat will rise and my face will begin to thunder. I can see corrugations in the water, raised in unmoving ripples.
   I look at her. She’s still too. An awkward doll twisted further than she should be. My mouth moves. I want to.
  “You can,” she says, and I take that breath, a simple and slow intake, chill in my lungs and tickling in my throat. Calm.
   I watch this doll for a while. Long enough I begin to worry when this peace will end. I could skip her question if it did.
  “I’m from… I don’t know.”
  “Okay, “ she says.
   The sky falls in and everyone starts shouting.