Flickless – Anna Wilson

Artist Statement

Primary power: sleep, which is a kind of seeing in the dark.

Doesn’t do anything at all. Just dreams, unmoving, as bugs and worms wander into her beak. If birds could drool, Flickless would. (Flickless does.)

Weakness: air.

Creation story: Unknown. She just woke up this way, featherless (rather, uselessly feathered, and underground. Was she pushed out of the nest? And then some? Who plucked her? Or was she born bald in spirit, on top of everything else? (Underneath it all, we’re all bald, she likes to tell herself.) Did a gang of evil flickers ruin her for normal flickerhood? A memory suppressed with such intensity that she ended up here? Or did her story begin in the egg?

Does Flickless dream of flying? Not that she remembers.

Occasionally she awakes to wonder if there are others—agape, alone, in the dark. Quiet neighbors occupy earthen excavations on all sides, but she sees no other grounded flicker.

Occasionally she wakes to feel herself breathing like a regular flicker. When this happens, Flickless holds very still (or, rather, even stiller—Jell-O cast in bronze, or cement if you’re a cheapskate), afraid that she might spontaneously take flight. The moment passes, the breast quits bubbling up and melts back into itself.

Occasionally, awake, Flickless catalogs her blind obsessions. Pencils, colored. Palettes in … hues? Every time something too big to eat wriggles past her maw, Flickless queries, as chirpily as possible, “Hey, do you know about colors?”

Eyes come in hues, right? A mole snuffles by, “Hi, tell me about eyes?” Flickless has never seen “day,” but somehow she knows that she has become dayblind too.

Flickless hates hammers, metronomes, and holes. She makes an exception for her own hole, calling it “Nest.” But Flickless really enjoys hating alarm clocks. Every time she thinks about hating alarm clocks, she feels so American. As long as she hates alarm clocks she is never alone.

Before Flickless falls asleep again, and again, and again, she sees the peacock and the owl. Someone told her about them once. But she fell asleep, and when she woke up she remembered the story but not the storyteller. It must have been someone who knew her very well.


Artist Bio

Anna Wilson relocated from the West Coast to the East Coast to the Third Coast to the Gulf Coast, and, most recently, from the “boot” to the “crown.” She completed an M.F.A. at Louisiana State University and currently pursues an M.A. in Lit/Ecocriticism at the University of Montana, with particular interest in the West, the Western, and nomad studies and poetics. Anna is the fiction chair for CAMAS magazine. She teaches writing and makes “textually active” visual art, from small books and videos to large installations featuring handmade paper.

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The author: Debra Marquart