How did it get to this point?
Perhaps that’s for you to say?
In any case, he found himself on the street, bemused.
He was such a pleasant, loquacious person.
His talk was always a champagne rush,
it had been so wonderful to see her,
he had swept himself away
and was now cast up, high and dry, under the drowsy planes.
The moment was light, translucent,
like a hollow seed husk.
She felt a gutting sense of anticlimax.
As if, for her entire life, she’d been building
not a fine house, but a ruin.
He was so happy, he hardly cared that he’d missed his train.
Like finding your child is a suicide.
An empty place for the moon and rain.

Man is a great scandal in Nature!
After the fact, he was sure he had sensed the end
coming, that the bubble was about to burst.
The jargon was out of a comic-book set-to:
bang, crash, bust, slump. And yet, with all the others,
he had gone along: the music was so sweet, somehow,
the dream so well-appointed, the spell so alluring.
She watched the zombie crowds milling about
on the streets below her penthouse intellect.
The train doors closed: instantly, stranded on the platform,
he regretted not getting on,
although it had been his decision.
People were moving around in the unfurnished flat next door:
she could hear their footsteps echoing.
Decorators? she guessed. Landlord? Potential buyers?
Strangers. Always strangers…

The great philosopher wept when his old car broke down.
In Florence, the doves’ wings fluttered and made a sound
a little like a bible’s pages rippling.
She was too young, and he too stupid, to analyse
the deep unease running through society,
the sense that the carriage was right on the edge
of reverting to a pumpkin, and that the fortress walls
keeping the others out were paper-thin,
that the streets were closer.
The terror of not being themselves
had not yet assailed the lovers.
In the restaurant, she gazed numbly at the aquarium,
the glittering, chiffon barbs of the angel fish as they
flipped and coasted and swam.
Do they remember the ocean? she wondered.
Is there no end to it? No exit?
Isn’t everything just another way in?

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