XV. Legend13

(Areas Not Shown)

  • To the west is ocean
  • East are many mountains
  • You may encounter construction and delays on Freeway 14
  • Highway 5 is closed
  • Where the road narrows use lights and horn
  • Where there is smoke there is fire
  • This border is where patrol is most heavy
  • Where it says gas read faith
  • Where it says faith read with caution
  • Where you see smile think end of road
  • (Ditto for tea, wave, photo, sun…)
  • Where you think you get it, turn
  • Where you think you don’t, turn
  • Not all points of interest are marked
  • Where I tried to indicate “I” I used the word I; for “you” I used you; “he,” he; et cetera
  • Names of persons and places have been changed unless otherwise noted
  • Trees, towers, and water should remain trees, towers, and water, except in those cases where I mean death
  • When I say death don’t roll your eyes
  • I think sometimes the world is what has been departing
  • Yes I mean it watch out where you go
  • There are times when I feel even essays fail. They break down
  • And then where are you? Think of something you believe in then
  • Kill it; think of something big. An essay that becomes a lyric
  • Is an essay that has killed itself. I don’t mean it like that
  • Exactly. I mean that everything you then do to try to save that
  • Essay—be it breadth, numbers, quotes, footnotes
  • Etc.—will only make it elegy for what it’s
  • Not
  • Where it says legend, read I told you so
  • Where it says let, read dare
  • Where it says maybe he will live forever, you should know that he did not

13 Once upon a time the world erected stone towers toward heaven, but when their god looked down and howled at them, then the world turned frail as clay dust and then spread.

John D’Agata, “Flat Earth Map: An Essay”, in Halls of Fame