First you notice the mark on the wall and then you are suspicious that it is moving; yet it moves too slowly to measure, and you think it has stained-glass eyes and furry feelers and a thousand legs, or else is a hole bored by a modest mouse; you decide to chase it / crush it but you are so dizzy you can hardly stand; meanwhile the spot / dot bleeds black ink and the white wall spins like a cartoon you saw in childhood where the character receives a bump on the head and sees stars; now the mark on the wall has become the calm eye of a hurricane swirling in the Atlantic; the weatherman is blinking from the rain and wind that lashes under his umbrella demonstrating that this is serious stuff; the black swirls that emanate from the mark's empty eye fill the room with water, water that weighs down your pocket packed with stones and strips off your clothes and skin; the mark on the wall backs away without shrinking, another optical illusion only smarter and more aware, because the mark is drawn back to spring at you like a slingshot, while all the names for the mark like snail or nail or stain are emptied of meaning like freedom, hope, and truth; the floor reverses beneath your feet and last-times-you-saw-faces nod good-byes behind the mirrored windows; gravity slides you giggling at your loss of balance towards the mark on the wall, your neck tickled by cold wind; ice moves from the pit of your stomach to your mouth; you lift a cigarette holder to your long thin lips with tapered fingers; meanwhile you think of garden parties, teas, butterflies drowned in cups, flies drowned in saucers, forgotten letters, stolen kisses, civilization, old yellow dresses and dapples of sunlight; no, in your case, Barnes & Noble, jingling keys, cocktails poolside, cream-colored invitations, wine reports, the New York Times, plastic palm trees, popping the corks of Jeroboams / Methuselahs / Balthazars, crumpled wrappers, empty bottles, making lists, starting the engine, saying cheese, clichéd lives of flippant gestures, rude awakenings, saying the right thing, being aware of the world,  just rewards, orgasmic cries; the mark may be a knife point being twisted from the other side of the wall, making you the knife-thrower's intended target; a car door slams and you hear the pounding of a fist at the door; meanwhile as the mark grows more ominous, you see a constellation of new marks, clearly moving now, scabs on walls of wrinkled flesh, leprous patches, rot and decay, rack and ruin; then, miraculously, with an abracadabra, a mystic incantation of wafted smoke, the marks flutter away, zig-zagging like frightened moths, and you face a row of doors in a pure white hall - not a labyrinth of endless doors, not a trap where you open one door only to find another and another and another - but a finite hall, dimly lit, where all motions are against a hissing tide and your outstretched hands can never meet the retreating knobs.

"Mark on the Wall" was previously published as "A Mark from Virginia Woolf's Wall" in Neon Magazine #17 (2008).