Ways of Seeing

Your eyes see things upside down; it’s down to your brain to turn them the other way up. This has become known as the right way up.

My eyes see things upside down, but my brain doesn’t work like yours. Some things turn and some things don’t. So when the band first came marching through, I saw them striding out on the sky instead of the road, their boots leaving dark imprints on the blue and a trail of flattened clouds wisping away in their wake. The birds had made themselves scarce; their light song couldn’t compete with the trumpets and tubas and the cheering of the crowds. They never came back. It should have been a warning, but no one else noticed that they weren’t there anymore.

As I said, some things turn and some things don’t. Not everything in my fairground-mirror world is upside-down. When the music stopped and the drums turned to gunshots, I saw the bullets tear through the tops of the trees. That quiet whisper that the leaves have in autumn was ripped apart, but because the shreds were golden everyone thought they were still pretty. I don’t know which way they drifted, up or down. They hung for a while, like tears, but when they finally disappeared no one else seemed to care.

They buried the dead in thunderstorms, and people closed their windows against the rain.

Again. Some things turn and some things don’t. I was told that I would always see things in a jumble, everything this way and that. No one ever told me that a sharp-enough blow to the head could jolt everything the same way; a lightning strike exploding together with the underside of a boot. For the first time I saw the sun set at night instead of rise, the clouds burning. Fire or blood? I didn’t know.

Nothing turned after that. Everything was fixed the right way up, but whether that was upside down or not? I couldn’t tell. I couldn’t see.




Elodie Rose Barnes is an author and photographer. She can usually be found in Paris or the UK, daydreaming her way back to the 1920s, while her words live in places such as Ellipsis Zine, Bold + Italic and Spelk. Current projects include chapbooks of poetry & photography inspired by Paris, and a novel based on the life of modernist writer Djuna Barnes. She can be found online at http://elodierosebarnes.weebly.com and on Twitter @BarnesElodie

Cover Photo Credit: Kylie Supski