It starts at once, “in medias res“, and at once
ends. Those stories that are just like sparks,
or shooting stars. The faulty lamp at the reception desk,
the smoky coil and whorl of flame mahogany,
her face reflected, dim, somehow unthinkable,
not requiring the props of gestures or metaphors,
but perfectly obvious, and therefore beyond him, quite out of his reach…

The green navigation light winking on and off
at the end of the jetty, seen from the apartment on Cairo St.
It’s still inside my heart, he thought,
that pulse, that persistence — somewhere always within me
I carried it for thousands of miles and for so many years,
until, now, I see it again, in the distance, tiny, at the end
of a long, benevolent tunnel of memory —
he broke off when the doorbell rang, and,
later that night, turned to Lara and snowdrifts;
and he was wrong.

Who knows? Iron slowly secreted in the soul,
the habit of the years, their sedative
casually and repeatedly administered,
the stories form like segments of shell,
then fragments of shells are washed up on a beach…
“Ruin”: it was what he faced.
It sounded curiously anachronistic,
a fate belonging to La Belle Époque,
to the staccato ghosts of horses and people
risen from their archived era,
entombed in Lumieres’ black and white.
Whoever makes it here will only find an empty house,
she thought. I send the cab away:
the stillness settles around me,
and the great planet of solitude exerts its pull, in the same grave way
as do the four or five other great planets of our cosmogony.
Oh! she said. Make a wish!