Ahead all Parting II

To complete the costume, I picked up a large staff and walked it along beside me at arm’s length, and in this way, not without difficulty but, as it seemed to me, full of dignity, I trailed into the guest-room toward the mirror.
It was really magnificent, beyond all expectation. And the mirror repeated it instantly: it was too convincing. It wouldn’t have been at all necessary to move; this apparition was perfect, even though it didn’t do a thing. But I wanted to find out what I actually was, so I turned around slightly and lifted both arms: large gestures, as if I were a sorcerer, were (as I saw immediately) the only appropriate ones. But just at this solemn moment I heard quite near me, muffled by my disguise, a multiple, complicated noise. Very frightened, I lost sight of the creature in the mirror and, to my great dismay, saw that I had knocked over a small round table with heaven knows what on it, probably very fragile objects. I bent down as well as I could and found my worst fears confirmed: everything seemed to be in pieces. The two useless, green-violet porcelain parrots were of course shattered, each in a different, malign way. A small bowl had spilled out its pieces of candy, which looked like insects in their silk cocoons, and had tossed its cover far away—only half of it was visible, the other half had completely disappeared. But the most annoying sight of all was a perfume bottle that had broken into a thousand tiny fragments, from which the remnant of some ancient essence had spurted out, that now formed a stain with a very repulsive physiognomy on the light rug. I quickly tried to wipe it up with some of the material that was hanging all over me, but it only got darker and more unpleasant. I was truly desperate now. I got up and looked for some object I could repair the damage with. But there was nothing. Besides, I was so hampered, in my vision and in every movement, that a violent rage flared up against my absurd situation, which I no longer understood. I began to pull at the knots of my costume, but that only made them tighter. The strings of the cloak were strangling me, and the material on my head was pressing down as if more and more were being added to it. In addition, the air had grown thick and misty with the vapor of the spilled liquid./…….

Not for Burning

I come across your old letters,
the words still clinging to the page,
holding onto their places patiently,
with no intention of abandoning
the white spaces. They say
that you will always love me,
and reading them again, I almost
believe it, but I suspect that
they are heretics, that later,
in the fire, they will deny it all.
Then I remember something I once
read (my memory is filled with voices
of the dead): that it is a heretic which
makes the fire, and that I am more guilty
than your words, poor pilgrims who trusted
the road you sent them down and kept
severely to the way. I forgive them;
I let them live to proclaim freely what
they thought would always be true.

Joyce Sutphen / Coming Back to the Body