Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher

A History of Beauty

On the table, a torn photograph, a lifeless clock. From the very beginning, they knew they would never agree on what was aesthetically pleasing. Every night he unfastened her charcoal drawings of winter, one by one, from the plain walls of the house.

Mornings he gave her elaborate diagrams, and those little machines, what seemed like every possible invention of reason. Even then, she didn’t quite understand. How the world itself became a locked room, its marble statues arranged in rows. The reliquaries always backlit, an odd radiance that began to darken the expressionless faces, their tiny hands.

Still they talked and talked. For days, she couldn’t stop quoting from that small white book on the divan. Silence, a bit of music. The glass splintering all around them. When asked about his views on aesthetics, he could only nod and stare.

JG and KMD were born in Portland and Tulsa. Their collaborations appear in OmniVerse, Requited, diode, and elsewhere. They currently live and write in rural Missouri while also taking frequent trips on the bullet train from Paris to Agen.