S. HOLLIS MICKEY “How to Fold a Fitted Sheet” (Flag Day Recordings)

I just don’t. You kidding me with this? Fitted sheets are the worst. I either put it directly on the bed or roll it up into a ball, because there’s no middle ground. I’m sure S. Hollis Mickey disagrees with me on this, but I’m unteachable in this regard. I’ve been lost to this laundrified mystery ever since I stopped sleeping in the race car bed and started sleeping in the adult big bed. Old dogs and tricks, etc.

This is a red herring, a deflection to the surface, discussing my weird aversion to fitted sheets. It just so happens that “How to Fold a Fitted Sheet” sort of promises some relief in that regard, and instead it just adds to the conundrum. “How to Fold” was originally a performance at Bivy Gallery in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2018, and it’s a beautiful work. It should not have sent me on this tangent. That it did is my fault, not its.

Mickey does actually explain it, but not before “Partington Ridge,” about rabbits, of which one hangs on the cover. We are given a glimpse into Mickey’s childhood here, as the work itself “was inspired by a print which hung in Hollis’ childhood bedroom.” “Rabbits do not know what they are.” That’s “Partington Ridge” (poem by Jack Spicer). Rabbits and the minutiae of folding fitted sheets. Flitting about with the ghosts of one’s past. Wisps of memory reflected in pools of slumber.

Then “How to Fold a Fitted Sheet” becomes magic. S. Hollis Mickey’s voice recites her words and puts us under a spell. The gentle ambience of the harmonium opens up vast expanses between what’s in your mind and what’s actually happening outside of you. Identity and reality bend and intertwine. We are the rabbits, unaware of what we truly are, and we struggle into our identity and our purpose. And S. Hollis Mickey’s voice continues until our minds scamper at the slightest disturbance.

Oh, look at that: a perfectly folded fitted sheet, right in front of me. How did that happen?