Second chapter of Clays


…of stars was drunken the earth.

Raya al-Zahra


Brizio grew up in the company of the pheasant, that left Filippo for the new companion.
Filippo was, in reality, the one abandoning her, ruthlessly in search of new lands, and since few years sending as the only sign of him being alive, big boxes full of spices to the brother Pietro.
The boxes were joined by letters, with detailed accounts of the use of herbs and powders among the locals, recipes, preparation procedures of unguents and medicines.
Not really prone to romanticism, or rather, to its public display, his style was dry and technical, mindful of Aristotelian categories.
That pleased the histrionic Pietro, not missing any chance for creating new stories and drawing new borders, inspired by the colors and the smells the store was imbued with.
Colors and smells whose attraction grew stronger and stronger in Brizio, at the pace of his black curls.
The city was sweating excitement, not only metaphorically. The celebration for the patron saint was swiftly approaching in the feverish preparations and swarming streets.
Mid August, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, resurrection and collective catharsis, the ritual repeated itself unchanged
Pietro, Eleonora and the son Brizio were getting ready for the event, the spices left for few days to delight themselves in the shut store.
The pheasant, of curious temperament, stuck to Brizio, and with eyes wide open and flattery, as only the female pheasant can, managed to avoid Pietro’s prohibition to bring her around that religious mess.
A thin shiny red collar covered the neck of the bird, that normally not keen to submission, let herself be guided with no movement of the beak.
The crowd was already dense and the clamor intense.
In the distance, a figure was standing tall in the middle of the square, white and azure dressed, flaring with light, soaked in the light of an August afternoon.
The city was moving slowly, drunk of the mystic swinging of the sunbeams on the body of the virgin. A sweet flavor, acute and persistent, pierced the skin, amplifying the binge, and challenging the balance of the weakest.
A smell of flowers that he did not know, burning oil in tiny cups, was sliding and bumping with the familiar ones of incense, roasted dried fruits, sweets and honey.
Brizio closed his eyes for a suspended moment that expanded its links to the breaking point. In which the seconds frayed in thousands ends, everyone of a different color, of inconceivable hues. In which that penetrating smell spread in the ether, with cluster of sensations.
The pressure of the crowd around, the broken sounds, were muffled into a uniform whistle, the flavors in an isotropic blow.
The world inside and outside mixed as throbbing cream into a huge pot, changing continuously in the visible range and in the invisible one, bubbles exploded releasing fragrances lasting a heartbeat till the next beat and a new infinitesimal crossing of shadows.
And every color acquired a taste, every taste a rhythm, counterpoint, hiss.
How long was he lost, how many seconds or geological eras overpowered his consciousness, difficult to know.
Only the pheasant realized the weird state he fell into and started pecking at his legs.
The insistence of the pecking awoke Brizio, and brought him back to the not lesser wonder of the celebration.
A single insane moment, never before experienced and that would never leave him in the future.
What started, catalyzed, fed that fire, maybe that mysterious smell from the statue, that small candid stars that intoxicated the air, sweet and nauseating?

What sunbeam burned the order of things into ashes of absolute?


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