Dear Empire,

These are your scribes. The sound of your voice from the reel-to-reel tape travels in spirals, translucent. The synchronic hiss of the acetate is like the clapper of a temple bell—sound of the hard ridges of a dragonfly wing as it slaps against glass.

A scribe’s job of translating internal phenomena into decree is akin to your dancer spilling her form as the music stops. As her feet trace the edge of the floor in silence. During winter, the tables are cold and the cyan of the ink turns a dark and viscous black. The writing feathers out, as the skill of the writers fails. There are waves in their handwriting because of weather. Because of fatigue.

You are dictating in a far off place. Your mouth is adjacent to the microphone. The texture of your voice, as painful as particulates in the air.

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