2 Once upon a time, you were expected here, and when you didn't show, a place was set for someone who looked more or less unlike you. You are sure to congratulate yourself for having caught me in this situation, making it up as I go along, but no matter, my aim's to bend all light into reflection, and so I have pre-empted your discovery of this point of fact. In this strange phase of love the personality of another person becomes so enlarged, so deepened, that the curiosity which you now feel stirring inside you with regard to the smallest details of my daily life, is the same thirst for knowledge with which I once studied history. You have knocked a hole in someone's wall and now there is nothing to do but look through, even as you realize that here is not the character for whom you looked, but perhaps a near relation, a time perhaps a bit early for your arrival, in which a beakless old waterbird wanders in circles over a threadbare carpet, casting terrifying shadows out onto the sidewalk as its circuit passes and repasses the lamp to which one of its webbed feet is tied by a length of packing twine that shortens inexorably with each revolution. Perhaps it has been a long time since you made any further holes, any perforations in the thick-napped paper that covers the interior walls of such a scene, simulating an all-encompassing sky which wraps itself around the outside of a train of events you were only moments ago riding as a casually interested commuter toward some other destination entirely—a long time, then, since you were a child, shooting at every hint of movement with a pellet gun by the shore of the artificial lake behind your father's rental duplex, knocking holes in beaks of birds to create the asymmetry out of which a story might take flight, but in this case the mind, merely by recalling the pain, created it afresh, lifting "that of which we cannot speak" into a chiaroscuro of yellow lamplight swirling down a drain into darkness as warm showers fell upon you from the hidden nozzle of theatrical night.

"Tell me everything you saw, and what you think it means," stage-whispers Grace Kelly in the fascinated hush that cuts off the supply of light, her absent presence in this vignette responding to your recitation, which takes up each sentence in the discarded papers blowing around against the all-encompassing sky and makes of it an opening whose dimensions are given in the aperture of the vocative "O." Framed thus in the round zoom lens of surveillance, do you now see the dashing figure you cut from afar brought into the tightest close-up, made ugly and atomic?


Issue Two
Table of Contents